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Longtime Hernando official works out departure deal with county

BROOKSVILLE — After a tense few weeks, longtime Hernando County parks and recreation supervisor Pat Fagan signed an agreement Thursday to bring an amicable end to a 33-year career.

Fagan's last day on the job was Thursday. His resignation date is May 27.

"It worked out for me and my family," Fagan said Thursday afternoon after a nearly three-hour meeting with county officials. He declined to comment further on the agreement.

The County Commission last month eliminated Fagan's parks and recreation manager position to help make up a $115,000 shortfall in that department's budget. But Fagan, 61, had said he would refuse to sign a separation agreement offered to him because he took issue with some of the conditions.

On Thursday, the deadline the county had set for Fagan to sign the original pact, Fagan struck a deal in a meeting with county Administrator David Hamilton and director of administrative services Cheryl Marsden.

The former agreement had offered Fagan three months of COBRA insurance benefits for him, his wife and 16-year-old twin daughters after his resignation date. That has been changed to three months of retiree insurance, which means he will continue to receive life insurance benefits.

The county also removed provisions that said Fagan would not be eligible for rehiring, and that he cannot disparage the county or its employees once he resigns.

"It seemed to be the wisest thing to do given Mr. Fagan's long-standing record, and he leaves Hernando County in good standing," Hamilton said.

Fagan had never indicated he had plans to sue the county. Still included in the pact is a waiver of rights to bring legal action against the county under the federal Age Discrimination Act and Florida's civil rights, equal pay and whistle-blower laws.

"We had to strike a balance between a long-term valued employee's contribution while protecting the taxpayers' exposure to litigation," Hamilton said.

County Commissioner Dave Russell noted that the county used a standard format for the initial agreement, but the non-disparagement clause gave him pause in this case.

"I'm glad we've come to an amicable resolution," Russell said. "Pat's been a tremendous asset to the county, and obviously he'll be missed. You can chalk the situation up to tough times. We're all having to deal with them."

Fagan had served as parks and recreation director until a reorganization that changed his title to "manager." His compensation is $118,916, including benefits. He will be eligible for a payout of about $20,500 in accrued, unused time off.

Not knowing when his last day with the county would be, Fagan resigned Tuesday from the Hernando School Board seat he had held since 2008. Florida Retirement System rules forbid employees from accepting pension benefits while still employed with the state, and Fagan has said he can't afford to defer those benefits while he serves out his term, which ends in November 2012.

Gov. Rick Scott will appoint Fagan's replacement. The law does not set a timetable for the process.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

Longtime Hernando official works out departure deal with county 03/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2011 8:06pm]
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