Former City Manager Randy Green’s retirement check from the city of McAlester has gotten a little smaller.

Acting City Treasurer Steve Harrison told the McAlester City Council during a special Thursday night meeting that a mistake had been made in including Green’s car allowance in calculating his pension earlier this year.

“We were including the car allowance; that has been removed,” Harrison said.

Since February, he figured Green has been overpaid on his pension by $2,688.88.

Now, the city wants the money back and is withholding part of Green’s next few retirement checks to get it.

“We’ve budgeted adjustment to 25 percent of the total checks,” Harrison said, noting the 25 percent limit is set by statute.

Harrison said $923.52 will be withheld from Green’s checks until the overpayments are recovered. He also said a letter has been sent to Green explaining the action.

Contacted today, Green said he has received the letter explaining the city’s actions.

“It’s been turned over to my attorneys,” Green said. “They were a little surprised since there’s pending litigation on the matter.”

Green said his attorneys are preparing “several responses” to the city’s action.

The city and Green have been locked in a dispute over the amount of Green’s retirement checks since his termination in January.

The city has been paying Green a retirement check of $3,979.69 monthly since last February, Harrison said. The new amount of his check, with the car allowance removed from the equation, will total, $3,694.11, he said.

However, with the additional 25 percent withheld to recover the overpayments, Green’s retirement checks for October and November, will total $2,770.59, Harrison said. December’s should be slightly higher.

After the city council fired Green earlier this year, Green contended his annual retirement should be half of his total compensation as listed on his W2 forms for three years he selected for his retirement to be computed.

Those years — 2001-2003 — include the city’s controversial buybacks of his unused leave.

Using that formula, Green’s retirement benefits would total $126,898 annually, according to city records.

The previous retirement checks of $3,979 the city has issued, which were based on half Green’s salary and car allowance, would amount to $47,748 annually.

Using the new calculations referred to Thursday night, Green’s retirement will total $44,329.32 annually — after the money the city contends was overpaid is collected.

Harrison said the city will also be examining the retirement benefits of former police chief and Ward 4 councilor Dale Nave.

During the special meeting, the council discussed an amendment to the city of McAlester’s benefit retirement plan and trust. It states that total wages should be used in the formula to figure retirement benefits, but fringe benefits should not be included.

The proposed amendment defines fringe benefits as all buybacks of accrued vacation and sick leave, moving expenses, car allowance, deferred compensation and welfare benefits.

The council took no action, but is expected to consider and act on the proposed amendment at the next regular city council meeting.

Also during the Thursday meeting, city councilors went into executive session to interview two new applicants for the position of city clerk.

Current McAlester City Clerk Bobbie Lanz has already turned in her resignation, effective in November.

Applications so far have been limited to current city employees. The applicants interviewed by city councilors Thursday night were Jerry Lynn Wilson, who is director of the Southeast Expo Center and Ann Autrey, who works in the office for the McAlester police’s detective division.

City councilors also went into executive session to appoint City Manager Susan Monroe as the city’s representative in any mediation or settlement in a pending lawsuit against the city. The action also gave Monroe authority to designate someone to act in her stead if she could not make it to one of the mediation or settlement conferences in the case of Rachel Lewis versus the city of McAlester.

The case is currently set for a mediation session on Nov. 2. If mediation fails, the case is set for a December jury docket in Pittsburg County District Court.

The lawsuit, filed by McAlester attorney Jeremy Beaver, states that on Nov. 6, 2003, Lewis was a senior at McAlester High School who went to City Hall, along with her classmates, as part of Student Government Day.

“She was allowed to slide down the fire pole and upon landing on the floor broke bones in her right leg and damaged bones in her left ankle,” the lawsuit states.

Lewis’ attorney is seeking damages in excess of $10,000, along with court costs and attorney fees.

McAlester Mayor Don Lewis said he is not related to the plaintiff in the case.



Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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