municipal land development consulting

A Job May Not be a Life but … Maybe Consulting at $125/hr Is!

After tendering her resignation as township manager back on July 17, in a Community Matters post, “… I asked Mimi Gleason why she was resigning – was it another job? No, she is not leaving Tredyffrin for another job. In fact, her explanation for the resignation was actually quite simple … ‘A job is not a life’. She went on to explain that she is uncertain about what she wants to do, but knows that she wants to do something different and to work less. Her plans after September 17 include taking a few months off from work, visiting friends around the country during the fall and her annual trip to Hawaii in January.”

Curious if there was any way that she would extend her employment past the September 17 deadline, I asked her that question. Her response, was an emphatic “no”, her mind was made up.  Well, as we learned at the September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting, her mind was not made up.  With a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors approved a consulting contract for Gleason, effective immediately.  There was no disclosure from the supervisors as to the specifics of the contract, i.e. salary, hours, etc. though BOS chair Michelle Kichline did say that Gleason would be helping the township until sometime after a new township manager was appointed and that the former township manager would not have direct contact with the public.  On a personal note, as probably one of Gleason’s final contacts with a private citizen, both in email and via her phone call to me of September 14, I completely support that aspect of the contract!

By the September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting, 2 months had passed since Gleason’s letter of resignation, but no replacement township manager had been appointed. If you recall with Tom Scott’s departure as assistant township manager, that position was eliminated.  In the interim, township Finance Director Tim Klarich was appointed at the September 17 BOS meeting to serve as acting township manager until a replacement township manager was appointed.

Without details of Gleason’s contract by the Board of Supervisors, several residents asked me about the contract, her consulting fee, the timeline, etc.  On September 23, I sent the township a ‘right-to-know request’, asking for the contract and any related correspondence.  After a legal review of my request, I received Gleason’s proposal dated August 28 and the signed consulting contract dated September 17 this past Friday.  (If you click on the contract, do not be put-off by the 29 pages, the attorney Robert McClintock, Lamb McErlane, included several copies of the contract in the pdf.  I am unclear as to why multiple unsigned copies; perhaps they contain small changes, but regardless, go to the end of the document to find the signed and dated version.)

For those experienced in reading contracts, I encourage additional commentary. Below, I offer highlights of Gleason’s proposal and contract:

  • Assist staff in development of 2013 budget & 5-year plan
  • Analyze budget alternatives
  • Available to meet with supervisors, finance committee
  • Assist with BOS meeting preparation
  • Assist with collective bargaining agreements if needed
  • Hourly rate $125, billed monthly to township
  • Work 10-15 hours per week, with notice may work more
  • Will assist new township manager with transition

Working as an independent contractor, Gleason’s consulting contract commenced September 23, no end date assigned. According to the terms of the contract, the township has the right to terminate the agreement with 10 days written notice. Going forward, the agreement may be amended with mutual agreement of Gleason and the township.

Going back to Gleason’s comment to me of July 17 that, “a job is not a life”.  Although a job may not be a life, apparently consulting may be the ticket to life.  A couple of people, who attended her retirement party last month, reported that  Gleason’s consulting plans go beyond helping Tredyffrin Township.  According to these sources, Gleason intends to take her land development expertise and offer those skills to other municipalities as a consultant.

I always thought that Gleason’s continued involvement and intense personal interest in the outcome of the recent C-1 zoning change to permit assisted living at Daylesford, past her notice to resign somewhat strange.  It is interesting to note that her last day of township employment had Gleason at the September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting and witness to the 7-1 supervisors vote to approve the C-1 zoning change.  Now, I get the connection.  Though many township residents opposed the C-1 zoning change, Gleason can now point to this success when negotiating her consulting services with other townships.  I guess the same applies for the Trout Creek Stormwater Overlay district ordinance change and her involvement in that zoning change.

Having served 10 years in Tredyffrin Township government, Gleason is fully vested and receives a pension.  In addition to the pension, it is my understanding that she will receive healthcare benefits for life. Pension, healthcare coverage and consulting jobs, looks like Gleason had bigger plans than our July 18 conversation following her resignation would have suggested.  According to Gleason, ‘a job may not be a life’ but apparently consulting is.

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