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Barnett settlement ends city obligation to ex-CMO

(Published February 22, 1999)

By OSCAR ABEYTA

Staff Writer

Former chief management officer Camille C. Barnett officially left the D.C. government payroll Feb. 16 and, under terms of a separation agreement she signed with the control board, will relinquish all her contractual claims to additional compensation from the city government when she receives a lump sum severance payment of $275,000 within the next 30 days.

Under the terms of her original contract, Barnett could have received up to 18 more months of pay and benefits if she did not find a job within a year of her departure. The new agreement says the lump sum payment "will fully discharge all obligations, rights and claims" under Barnett’s original employment contract.

Barnett’s firing came less than a week after Mayor Anthony A. Williams was inaugurated. Even though the new agreement says Barnett and the control board terminated her employment contract "by mutual consent," control board member Eugene Kinlow has publicly stated the control board reached a "consensus" to fire Barnett without cause. Had Barnett quit, under the terms of her original contract, she would not be eligible for any severance package.

The control board came under heavy criticism for paying Barnett over half a million dollars for one year’s worth of work as CMO. This included her $155,000 annual salary plus the severance package and benefits.

"If she was fired, what then is the basis for an additional bonus?" said Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations. "This is exactly the type of wasteful expenditure the control board was brought in to correct."

Control board sources said Barnett was paid such a generous severance package because the board was afraid she would sue.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator