POWHATAN – The Powhatan County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week to pass a termination agreement regarding the resignation of former county administrator Ted Voorhees setting the final terms of his severance package.
During the board’s meeting on Monday, Jan. 27, supervisors voted unanimously to pass the agreement as written. The agreement finalizes Voorhees’ separation from the county. The board unanimously asked for and received his resignation on Monday, Jan. 6.
Voorhees, who had worked as the county administrator since May 1, 2017, attended the Jan. 27 meeting and made a request during the public comment period, which came prior to the board’s vote on the agreement.
Voorhees asked the board to adjust the separation agreement to indicate his last day of employment was Jan. 31 and that he be showed on paid leave status from the date upon which he stepped down until that date.
“My intention is that this action be done at no cost to the county, with all costs deducted from my final compensation. In December, I initiated a process to repurchase prior service in the Virginia Retirement System that I earned serving another local government jurisdiction in the Commonwealth,” Voorhees said. “Unfortunately, this transaction was not completed prior to the board’s request for my resignation and cannot be completed without this adjustment.”
Voorhees recognized that the board was under no obligation to extend him the courtesy but pointed out “it would not cost the taxpayers anything, and I am unaware of any reason that would prohibit you from doing so. It would mean a lot to my family.”
When it was time for the board to vote on the agreement, they did so without comment and without making any changes to the agreement, which ended his employment effective Jan. 6.
According to the agreement, Voorhees is entitled to six months of salary at his current rate, which should come out to $96,524 based on his current annual salary of $193,048. He is also entitled to six months of the employer's share of retirement payments paid on his behalf; nine months of health plan coverage, life insurance, and disability coverage, the outstanding remainder of the annual vehicle allowance, and unused accrued sick and annual leave.
Toward the end of the meeting, Jamie Timberlake, who is the commissioner of the revenue, spoke during the second comment period. While he congratulated his fellow elected officials on their elections to office and said he looks forward to four years working together, he said he was disappointed in their action regarding Voorhees that night.
“Mr. Voorhees gave a lot of time to this county, and if I understand what happened, we did not grant him the opportunity to work through his retirement points and give him until (Jan. 31), which wouldn’t cost any of us in this room or in this county anything. And that’s a shame. The guy is a good guy. You didn’t like his style; that is one thing. To change county administrators is your prerogative. But I thought that was wrong the way he was treated and my mama and my daddy told me to tell you that,” Timberlake said.
Following a closed session at the end of the Jan. 27 meeting, the board also voted unanimously to approve a contract with Bret Schardein as the interim county administrator, effective Jan. 7.
However, before agreeing to the contract with Schardein, the board voted on a stipend that Schardein would be paid while he fills the roll. The board voted 3-2 in favor of a stipend that is 5 percent above his current salary. Chairman David Williams, who represents District 1; Larry Nordvig, District 2, and Mike Byerly, District 3, voted in favor of the amount. Bill Cox, District 4, and Karin Carmack, District 5, voted against it.
According to the human resources department, Schardein’s current annual salary is $112,850. He will be paid 5 percent above that amount as long as he fills the interim county administrator role.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the county posted on its website and Facebook pages that it is now accepting applications for the role of county administrator and the initial review application will begin Feb. 28.
Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.