College Corner council rejects separation agreement with fiscal officer

The Village of College Corner’s only full-time employee wanted to quit just weeks after Journal-News content partner WCPO 9 highlighted her contract amid questions about the town’s transparency. On Tuesday night, the council rejected her voluntary separation agreement.

As locals continue to take more interest in the town’s affairs, the council asked everyone to leave their meeting Tuesday to privately discuss a separation with fiscal officer Jennifer Woods.

WCPO’s Tanya O’Rourke first reported that Woods’ current contract shows she makes more than $72,000 a year. She is not required to hold office hours and instead can work “flexible work hours as necessary.” Her benefits include 30 vacation days, two personal days and 120 sick days. Next year she will get 15 more.

“In 38 years of practicing employment law, I never saw a contract with 120 sick days per year. Paid sick days,” attorney Randy Freking told WCPO. “I would classify it as a sweetheart contract. And particularly since she reports to her father and her father is going to be the one who approves or disapproves her sick leave.”

Woods’ father, Mike Sims, is the village administrator.

The details of her contract angered many residents, like the mayor’s aunt, Debby Day.

“Who works somewhere and gets 120 sick paid days and three weeks vacation, and $70,000 a year?” Day asked.

But the council voted to keep Woods on staff, rejecting an agreement that would allow her to retire early.

“Absolutely, yeah,” Mayor Molly Cason said when asked whether she’d be willing to welcome Woods back.

Cason said that even as she works to shed light on the town’s finances, something she wanted to do when she ran for her position, she’d like to see everyone work in collaboration.

She did say she’d like to see clauses in the agreement paying Woods through June 2025 taken out. One section said Woods would get a lump sum of her salary if she gets a full-time job before June 2025. Another covers her payment in the event she dies before then.

“I don’t want to see that because we have things we need to address like EMS services,” Cason said.

WCPO asked to speak to council members and Sims. None wanted to comment on the vote or the town finances. Cason said will continue to work with local leaders to bring more transparency to residents.

“I’m not going to give up,” she said.

Council also voted to move their meetings from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. so more people can attend.

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