Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Miami auditor Victor Igwe fired as contract expires

By Charles Rabin

City of Miami Auditor Victor Igwe was let go Monday after 12 years, with little explanation other than his contract had run out.

Igwe, 59, and a lightning rod of administrators over the years for uncovering the misdeeds of city workers, said four city higher-ups including Employee Relations Director Beverly Pruitt and Deputy City Manager Luis Cabrera, visited his office late Monday afternoon with a termination letter, and told him he had to leave. The letter, signed by Pruitt, said Igwe was being let go because the City Commission had taken no action since his contract ran out April 28.

It was shortly past that time when Igwe approached commissioners asking for a new contract, but was told instead Commissioner Frank Carollo would evaluate his compensation and report back to the city within 60 days. The two-month period ended Monday.

Pruitt “said she doesn’t have authority to keep paying me because the commission failed to take any action,” Igwe said.

Igwe’s final contract which he signed in 2007 – like the city clerk and the city attorney he signs four-year contracts – paid him a salary of $172,000 a year. It calls for a severance payout of six months if he’s fired, but it’s anything but automatic: The contract reads the payout can be considered, and it needs the approval of the City Commission. Igwe said he will likely seek legal counsel to determine if he’s due the payment.

Igwe has long been considered a thorn in the side of authority in Miami. He often wrote scathing audits, one over a decade ago that found the director of the Bayfront Park Trust was misusing city funds. He was jailed. Another audit found illegal payments from a city Community Redevelopment Agency, which eventually led to investigations involving former City Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr., who eventually killed himself in the lobby of The Miami Herald building.

Via Miami Herald

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