Battle between South Burlington and former city manager
South Burlington, Vermont - September 27, 2011
Chuck Hafter served as South Burlington's city manager for over 20 years. He retired in May 2010. Since then, he's been fighting for access to a pension program he paid into throughout his tenure, now worth $500,000.
The City Council started an investigation into Hafter's benefit package one year ago, and Monday night the council granted Hafter access to his pension, but says he owes taxpayers $150,000 from other outstanding bills.
"If we get repayment as we should, I think the city should be satisfied and the taxpayers should be satisfied," said Sandra Dooley, a member of the South Burlington City Council.
In 1991 Hafter bought a home. He got a loan from the city for one-third of the home's cost. Under an agreement, Hafter was to pay the city one-third of the home's worth at his retirement. The home's value has doubled since 1991, and according to the city, that means Hafter owes $93,000. But his lawyer, Pietro Lynn, says the fight is not over.
"Thankfully we know the city's position and now we will likewise respond," Lynn said.
Also at issue is Hafter's medical premium policy.
"Only after the City Council approved the long-term care insurance Mr. Hafter had the city purchase it for him. We are frankly mystified to any argument he is not entitled to continued long-term care insurance," Lynn said.
Hafter enrolled in 2003. Taxpayers have since paid $60,000 on Hafter's medical plan. Now councilors say the bill is not the taxpayers' problem.
"There are still premiums due on the policy. Mr. Hafter owns the policy. We are not going to make any more premium payments and we are going to attempt to get Mr. Hafter to pay us back," Dooley said.
Hafter's lawyer says they are deliberating the council's decision and expect to have a response next month.
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