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Another City Exec Gone
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In an effort to make up a $1 million deficit in operating costs, Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer confirmed Friday, June 7, that Human Resources Analyst Michelle McKinsey was given notice that her last day with the city will be June 30.

Also included in the current city lay off was Recreation Coordinator Brea DeRespini.

The layoffs were part of a cost savings plan presented by Whitemyer to the city council at its June 3 meeting.

McKinsey, 42, was paid an annual salary of $86,676. Her duties included multiple human resources functions including recruitment, workers compensation, retirement plans, and labor relations. She also served as the city’s public information officer.

“I appreciate all the work both did for the city,” Whitemyer said. “They were great assets but unfortunately we can’t afford to fill these positions any longer.”

Whitemyer said he and his remaining staff will be assuming the human resources duties for the 100-employee city staff.

“It’ll be a collaborative approach with my secretary and some of the staff in finance,” Whitemyer said. “We have an outside firm, RMA, who handles our workman’s comp issues.”

The layoff is the latest in the departure of the city’s executive staff over the last year that has seen the forced departure of the Public Works Director and Community Development Department Director.

McKinsey was the focus in September 2011 for her involvement in VHHW Investigations, LLC where Former City Manager Steve Hallam, then Police Chief Mary West, City Attorney Tom Hallinan, and McKinsey, using her maiden name Vizina, formed their own company designed for workplace investigations.

The action caused the city to hire the legal firm of Meyers Nave at $15,000 to investigate whether the consulting firm posed ethical questions or a conflict of interest.

Last year the Leader attempted to obtain a copy of the Meyers Nave report under the Public Information Act and was told the report was “Attorney-Client Privileged & Confidential Work Product” that was prepared in order to determine employee misconduct and designed to give legal advice for the anticipation of any litigation.

According to Whitemyer, the accumulated time payout for McKinsey leaving is only around $5,000.