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Parks and Recreation Manager Pat Fagan balks at the terms of a job separation deal.

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando Parks and Recreation manager Pat Fagan knows his days as a county employee are numbered.

He understands why, and he accepts it.

But the 33-year veteran said Wednesday he won't sign a separation agreement that sets the terms of his departure.

"I have some major, major concerns with things they're asking me to do," Fagan said.

The County Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to cut Fagan's position and three others to plug a $115,000 hole in the parks department's current budget. Fagan, 61, was warned that his position was on the chopping block, and he was given the separation agreement last week.

The agreement lists his resignation day as May 27, but his actual last day of work would be the eighth calendar day after he signs.

The county would pay for three months of COBRA health insurance benefits for Fagan and his family. He is married and has 16-year-old twin daughters.

But Fagan says the agreement does not provide for life insurance during that time.

"I've been paying into life insurance for 30 years," he said.

By signing the pact, Fagan also waives his rights to bring legal action against the county under the federal Age Discrimination Act, Florida's civil rights, equal pay and whistle-blower laws, and "any other claim" relating to his employment.

Also, he cannot "disparage the County or its past or present commissioners, officers, directors, or employees," though that does not apply to "truthful statements made in compliance with legal process or government inquiry," the document states.

"I'm basically concerned with the agreement trying to keep me from opening my mouth about county government," Fagan said. "Why should they take away the right to say what I have to say to the public?"

Fagan also must agree that the county would have no obligation to rehire him and that his employment is "permanently and irrevocably severed."

He doesn't have immediate plans to apply for a job, but he bristled at the attempt to keep him from returning.

"Don't tell me I can't work for Hernando County when I didn't do anything but dedicate my time and life to Hernando County," he said. "That's an insult."

Fagan has until March 10 to sign the agreement. He said Wednesday he would consult with the county's director of administrative services, Cheryl Marsden.

Neither Marsden nor Land Services Director Ron Pianta, Fagan's supervisor, returned calls for comment Wednesday. County Administrator David Hamilton was on vacation.

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's eligible for a payout of about $20,500 in accrued, unused time off.

Fagan's second four-year term on the Hernando School Board ends in November 2012. On Tuesday, he reiterated what he has already said publicly: When he leaves his county job, he will resign from the School Board shortly after because he cannot afford to defer his county pension and live on the board's $32,917 salary for the rest of his term.

He has not ruled out a County Commission bid, though, and the clause in the separation agreement referring to his rehiring would not apply if he ran and won, said Assistant County Attorney Jon Jouben.

"Pursuant to the Florida Constitution, a county commissioner is a state official, not a county employee," Jouben said.

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

Parks and Recreation Manager Pat Fagan balks at the terms of a job separation deal. 02/23/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:59am]
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