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City execs. who lose job cost taxpayers plenty Carlos R. Davalos | Sun, May 16 2010 02:46 PM

Despite my affection for government workers, I can appreciate the occasional contempt the average Joe might feel when talking about bureaucrats feeding at the public trough. It's hard not to feel disdain when you think about the likes of Laurie Madigan, Dave Rowlands, David Garcia and now, Glen Googins.

The four former executives worked for the city of Chula Vista and received generous sums of money when they (depending on who you ask) "voluntarily resigned" or were fired.

Last year Garcia, the former city manager, reached a $170,000 agreement with the city of Chula Vista after he was fired from his post for inappropriate Internet behavior. In exchange for the cash, Garcia agreed not to sue the city.

In 2007, then assistant city manager Madigan was forced from her position in March for possible conflicts of interest and after it was discovered she was teaching at UCSD despite being on leave from the city.

As part of her settlement agreement, Madigan was paid the remainder of her $189,212 salary through January 2008 even though she was no longer employed at City Hall.

In 2006, Rowlands, yet another city manager, agreed to a settlement that would pay him $245,450 plus car allowance for a year after he was forced out by then mayor (and current Chula Vista port commissioner) Steve Padilla. In exchange for all that scratch, Rowlands agreed not to sue or disparage the city.

And finally, in 2004 Googins, currently a candidate for city attorney but at the time a senior assistant city attorney, agreed to "resign" after he and his boss determined they had philosophical differences.

Googins reached a settlement with the city that paid him, before taxes, $175,921. The former city attorney also promised not to sue the city. Another aspect of Googins' deal was the city's intent to notify him whenever a public records request was made regarding his separation.

Imagine! Quit your job and receive almost a year's salary in one lump sum. Or, get fired from your gig for bad behavior, receive a year's salary and a little something extra if you promise not to sue. Who in their right mind would walk away from either one of those offers?

Too bad most of the people in this work-at-will state, who get paid by the hour or toil in a cubicle without a contract, won't get anything more than a limp handshake when they part ways with their employer.

There's a saying in the sports world: Don't hate the player, hate the game. But it's hard not to feel ill will toward the players when the players are gaming the system.

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