By Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – On a 4-0 vote, the Norwalk City Council on Tuesday decided to part ways with six-year city manager Mike Egan.
Tantamount to being fired, the process was completed in a closed session held prior to the 6 p.m. normal start time.
A surreal scene evolved as Egan’s placard was removed from his designated seat inside council chambers where it remained empty for a minute before newly-assigned interim city manager James Parker took his new position at the right of the council.
The promotion of Parker, a 24-year employee with the city who most recently headed Norwalk’s Transportation Department, was approved 4-0 by the council in the same closed session.
Noticeably absent from the proceeding was Councilmember Margarita Rios. No explanation for her absence was given at the meeting.
After the vote, Mayor Luigi Vernola said Egan had received zero performance valuations since he was hired in 2011. He also confirmed that Egan will receive a nearly $250,000 severance payment.
Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock called Egan’s termination “unfortunate.”
“I believe it was unfortunate, we [the council] had become apologetic when it came to the evaluation of the city manager,” he said.
As for the process to select a replacement, Shryock added, “We’re going to use HR people and the city attorney to QB the process.”
With Parker’s estimated current salary in his Transportation Director’s position of $155,000, Mr. Vernola added that the council will be addressing additional compensation for Mr. Parker during the estimated three-month interim period.
“It will be in the neighborhood of $45,000,” Vernola said.
Egan’s yearly salary was $248,916, not counting car allowance, medical insurance and retirement contributions, which pushed his total compensation to over $300,000 annually.
“We thank Mr. Egan for six years of service to the City of Norwalk and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Norwalk council members said in a prepared statement. “Because this is a personnel matter, we will have no additional comments at this time.”
News of Egan’s termination was met with resistance on social media, including from Patrick Maxwell, retired Sheriff’s Department captain at the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station.
“He is highly respected by me and many for his honest and ethical conduct. Mr Egan always had the city of Norwalk’s interest at heart and always did what was right,” Maxwell wrote. “I hope the citizens of Norwalk scrutinize this decision. When ethics and politics collide, politicians win as in this case.
“Mr. Egan is not a yes man and unfortunately he and his family has paid the price.”
Additional reporting by Eric Pierce