Two weeks after abruptly accepting county manager Jim Walker's resignation, Catoosa County commissioners approved a settlement Tuesday night, Feb. 6, that will pay Walker $54,000.
On Feb. 20, the regularly scheduled commission meeting took a big turn after executive session when the board announced it had accepted Walker's resignation.
The issue seemed to arise without Walker's knowledge, as Commissioner Ray Johnson called for a personnel matter be added to the executive session portion of the agenda. About an hour later, Walker was escorted to his office and subsequently left the building.
Tuesday night, March 6, after another lengthy executive session, the board brought the meeting back to order, at which time County Attorney Clifton M. "Skip" Patty, Jr. spoke briefly about separation agreement.
"What we have is board approval of the contract terminating the contractual agreement between Catoosa County and James M. Walker Jr. with a mutual release, covenant not to sue, and a confidentiality agreement," Patty said.
"As a part of the settlement with Mr. Walker, the county has agreed to pay him the sum of $54,000, which includes all of his accrued leave, all of his accrued sick pay, and all of his salary up to the point of termination," Patty said.
When the resignation was approved two weeks ago, it wasn't clear if Walker had tired of the job or if his resignation was requested by the board.
Approval of the settlement terms did not shed additional light on why or how the split came about.
"There is a confidentiality agreement and non-disparagement agreement that's mutual," Patty said. "There's also a total mutual release and covenant not to sue — that we will not sue Mr. Walker and Mr. Walker will not sue us."
Walker was on the job for nearly two-and-a-half years after taking the post in September 2015.
On Feb. 20, the board appointed Chief Financial Officer Carl Henson to serve as interim county manager while it searches for Walker's replacement.