What’s the Real Story?
Another surprise resignation, secret agreements signed off by the Village Council, two unnecessary payouts of more than $200,000 of taxpayer funds, bizarre accusations, a complete lack of transparency, and an empty legal department.
Where is the transparency?
At the end of the last Village Council meeting, and with no warning to the public, Village Attorney Roget Bryan abruptly announced his resignation, stating in part:
“I have no appetite at all for external political dynamics that involve personal attacks on my name, character, reputation, integrity and most egregiously my family. I refuse to tolerate, accept, or normalize such attacks on myself, any village manager here, other staff, as par for the course, and on this, I am unwavering and resolute.”
Very odd, but let’s continue.
Following the announcement, the Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that was added to the agenda as TAB X, itemizing some of the terms of a separation agreement, which had been prepared by Weiss Serota, a firm that has previously done legal work for the Village. Click here for separation agreement.
As per his original employment contract from 2013, Mr. Bryan is not entitled to any severance pay if he resigns or is terminated for cause. However, in the separation agreement presented May 12, he would get severance equal to 20 weeks of pay and benefits, including 39.1% added to his retirement funds, insurance, and accrued leave. Click here for employment contract.
In total, Mr. Bryan’s payout is more than $184,000. Click here to see breakdown.
What are the external dynamics that involved personal attacks serious enough to cause Mr. Bryan’s resignation? We’ll likely never know. Why? The separation agreement includes a non-disparagement section. Both Mr. Bryan and the Village agreed not to make or publish any statement verbally or in writing that defames or disparages the other.
This is getting old – and expensive.
Several top management employees, including former Village Manager Greg Oravec and Seth Lawless before him, also got severance pay after resigning. We believe these payouts are tied to the nondisclosure agreements they were both asked to sign.
However, none of the previous severance packages compare to the lucrative parachute Mr. Bryan was awarded.
May 20, 2022 was Mr. Bryan’s last day of employment. Oddly, it became the last day for his legal assistant, Eileen Rodriguez, too. And, like her boss, Ms. Rodriguez also received a severance package, a practice highly irregular for all but top management. She received 12 weeks of pay plus benefits. Click here to see breakdown.
Is there something the taxpayers of Islamorada need to know about why this handsome severance package was offered to Mr. Bryan? What “external political dynamics” caused this, and perhaps both, May 20th departures.
If the Council won’t talk, and the departing employees won’t talk, how can we address what is clearly broken in Village Hall?
The villagers deserve an answer. Our trust and tax dollars hang in the balance.