By all indications it appears that Hollister City Manager Brett Miller was either terminated or more likely resigned during the closed session of the Feb. 21 City Council meeting. He was present in chambers before a closed session and it was announced that his performance evaluation was on the session’s agenda. When the council members returned after the closed session, Miller was gone and Assistant City Manager David Mirrione had taken his seat for the remainder of the meeting.
Neither Mirrone nor Mayor Mia Casey would confirm whether Miller still worked for the city, saying that they could not comment on personnel matters. The other members of the council nor Miller did not respond to BenitoLink’s request for comment.
While the city would not confirm or deny Miller’s status as an employee, a lawsuit was announced May 20, 2022, that lists the city and Miller as defendants in a sexual harassment complaint.
Law firms in Salinas and Los Angeles are representing an unnamed plaintiff, referred to as Jane Doe, in the civil case. The suit asks for damages of more than $25,000 and compensatory damages for a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act; sex discrimination in violation of FEHA; failure to investigate and prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in violation of FEHA; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Under Miller’s three-year contract, which would run until Sept. 7, it would have been automatically renewed for one year. His annual salary is $201,171, according to the city’s salary schedule. If he was terminated or resigned, he would be entitled to all compensation including salary, accrued vacation, sick leave and accrued executive leave paid in a lump sum plus the value of all benefits for the remainder of the term of the agreement.
According to the contract, he could be terminated only in closed session and the decision confirmed in a public meeting. That did not happen Feb. 21. His contract stated that if he were terminated, a joint press release by himself and the city would be made at the public meeting when the termination was confirmed.
He would also have had the option to resign if he was facing termination in closed session. If he did voluntarily resign, he and the city would have a minimum of 30 days to notify the public.
Under the terms of the agreement, Miller could be terminated for “cause,” which could be for one of the following reasons:
- Conviction of a felony
- Continued abuse of non-prescription drugs or alcohol that materially affects the performance of the employee’s duties
- Conduct or behavior that exposes the city to claims or risks of personal or financial conflicts
- Repeated and protracted unexcused absences from the city manager’s office and duties
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