Vice Mayor Larry Small and councilman Tom Gallagher said Culbreth-Graft notified the city with a letter sent to city attorney Pat Kelley last week.
The letter was from an attorney representing Culbreth-Graft and says the city’s action in swearing in her successor, Steve Cox during the April 13 city council meeting, amounted to “constructive termination.”
Culbreth-Graft contends that such action violated the terms of her contract, and therefore obligates the city to pay severance, Small said.
He said Culbreth-Graft’s resignation became effective April 16.
“After we swore Steve in, she got up and left, saying that she would leave the meeting In ‘Steve’s capable hands.’ We found out after the meeting that she had cleared out her office and left the building,” Small said.
Small is puzzled by Culbreth-Graft’s contention that Council’s action violated the terms of her contract.
“If you look at the record, it’s absolutely clear,” he said. “We swore Steve in on the 13th, but it was not to take effect until the 16th.”
Gallagher has a clearer idea about what happened.
“She’s a complete technocrat,” he said. “She knew exactly what she was doing when she walked out. It was all planned,” he said.
Will the city pay up as requested? Not if it were up to Gallagher and Small.
“So far, it’s just a letter,” Small said. “We’ve explained the action we took, and why it didn’t violate her contract. Right now, I’m not sure what it means. If it does become a legal issue, we’ll see.”
Neither Culbreth-Graft nor Kelley could be reached for comment.