Pearce resigns; city manager gets $80K severance package [Aiken Standard, S.C. :: ]
(Aiken Standard (SC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 07--Former Aiken City Manager Richard Pearce will receive almost $80,000 in severance after quietly resigning as the city's Chief Executive Officer on Friday.
Under the resignation agreement, Pearce will receive approximately half of his annual salary, $67,506.40, plus $12,426.84 to pay for 12 months of COBRA health insurance coverage.
--PDFRichard Pearce resignation document
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--PDFRichard Pearce resignation document 3
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--PDFRichard Pearce resignation document 6
After two weeks of speculation as to whose future City Council was privately discussing, tension came to an ease when Pearce resigned through a letter to Council.
Council held its third private session in two weeks to discuss the future of one of its top City staff. A few residents were in attendance, including Assistant City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh, Finance Director Kim Abney and Pearce's wife and daughter.
Pearce sat at the mayor's left as Fred Cavanaugh announced Pearce would leave his post. That announcement came after a 20-minute private session Council had with local attorney James M. Holly and City Attorney Gary Smith. Pearce never spoke at the meeting and left Chambers quietly with his wife and daughter after Council voted to accept his resignation.
Pearce's resignation comes after a lengthy career working for and with the City of Aiken. He holds two degrees -- a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of South Carolina School of Science and Math and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the USC School of Law.
Prior to serving as City manager, Pearce was the City's assistant city manager after serving as the City's solicitor and staff attorney for 10 years. Pearce took over former Aiken City Manager Roger LeDuc's position after he was unanimously appointed as manager by Council in 2010.
Council also unanimously voted to appoint Assistant City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh as the acting city manager. Council members said the search for a permanent replacement should begin this month.
Originally from Clearwater, Bedenbaugh served as the executive director of the Aiken County Voter Registration and Elections Commission for 12 years. He was also an auditor at the South Carolina Legislative Audit Council and has worked with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments.
He was appointed assistant city manager in March 2011 and began serving the month thereafter.
Bedenbaugh has a master's degree in public administration from the University of South Carolina.
For the past two weeks Council members wouldn't confirm or deny whether the meetings were about Pearce, but increased speculation led many to assume he was the target.
Council members wouldn't speak on the record as to what was discussed behind closed doors during the private session, but did issue a press release following the first half of their private meeting.
The release states, "Aiken City Manager Richard Pearce has tendered his resignation effective June 6, 2014. Aiken City Council accepts his resignation with regret and with appreciation for Pearce's more than 15 years of service to the City. This resignation has been given and accepted on terms mutually agreeable to all involved. All parties look forward to continued successes by our city. All parties wish one another well in all their future endeavors."
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard.
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