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Frederick Community College reveals former president's severance

Back in February, Frederick Community College announced that its new president had departed the institution due to "philosophical differences." The man, who had served only about six months as the community college's president, left his post after the college's board of trustees held a closed meeting on Jan. 3.

The college has now released a partially redacted copy of his severance agreement. He was apparently paid about six month's salary, $90,000, in addition to compensation for unused vacation hours. The agreement also contains a sample reference letter should future employers contact the community college. Additionally, the agreement bars the man from talking about any of the terms of his departure and from criticizing his former-employer.

While the local media is seeking more information about the terms of the former college president's departure, the information that has been released does indicate a somewhat normal severance agreement.

When people negotiate severance agreements, it is generally important to ensure the following:

  • The amount of salary that will be paid out will cover the length of time it will take the person to find comparable employment.
  • Any unpaid vacation, sick leave or other elements of compensation are accounted for.
  • Health insurance is provided.
  • The person will be released from any non-compete agreements and other restrictive contract terms that could affect the person going forward.
  • The language of any references that the person might need from the employer while seeking work is strictly controlled.

Of course, the media is likely interested in why the college's former president departed on such terms. It is unclear whether that information will ever become public. In some cases, employees who are involved in some type of litigation against their employer choose to pursue or accept a severance agreement.

It is wise for employees to seek legal counsel during severance negotiations. There are a number of legal factors that need to be negotiated when drafting a severance agreement in order to ensure one's interests and future are protected.

Source:, "Frederick Community College president received $90,000 to leave," Ryan Marshall, May 15, 2013

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