Davis contract similar to Ruffin’s
County Commissioners are giving incoming County Manager Wendell Davis a contract similar in most respects to the one retired manager Mike Ruffin operated under.
The primary difference is that Davis’ contract includes from the start a provision for him to receive one year’s worth of salary and benefits if he’s fired without cause.
Ruffin’s last contract, signed late in 2004, initially called for nine months and three weeks’ worth of severance pay. That rose to a year in the fall of 2005.
The 2004 Ruffin contract dates from his rehiring after that year’s election.
He was briefly ousted before that year’s balloting, as part of the fallout of a dispute between two county department heads, but regained his position after the new board was sworn in.
Davis will receive a starting annual salary, $198,800, that’s lower than the $205,374 Ruffin, a 13-year veteran in the job, was getting from the commissioners when he stepped down.
But his contract calls for him to receive the same monthly car allowance, $600, and the same 8 percent contribution to his 401(k) retirement account that Ruffin got.
The commissioners as with Ruffin are requiring Davis to live in Durham County.
Davis was deputy county manager from 1999 to 2011 and will receive credit for that service in the calculation of annual vacation and sick-leave time. He’s scheduled to rejoin the county on April 14, leaving his current job as N.C. Central University’s vice chancellor for administration and finance.
His new contract, like Ruffin’s, bars him from working on anything but the county’s business without prior approval from the commissioners.
The commissioners promised both managers a life-insurance benefit of up to three times their annual salary or $500,000, whichever was or is lower, plus short- and long-term disability benefits.
Like Ruffin, Davis can be fired with cause – meaning without the commissioners needing to pay severance – if he performs incompetently, neglects his duty, commits “an act of moral turpitude” or a crime more serious than a traffic violation, retaliates against an employee exercising his or her lawful rights, or acts in a way contrary to the county’s financial interests for benefit of his own.
Should the commissioners invoke the incompetence or neglect-of-duty provisions, they have to give Davis written notice of their intentions and 60 days to remedy the problem.
The contract doesn’t mention a cell-phone allowance. Neither did Ruffin’s, but the former manager confirmed he received $900 a year to pay for a phone.