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Park City, Social Equity, and Severance

Goodbye Diane Foster. You seemed like a good City Manager. You managed through a period of change and always appeared competent. If Tom Fisher decides to leave Summit County at some point, I would welcome you to the Summit County County Manager position. But you’re likely moving on to bigger and better things.

Yet, your untimely firing departure has left me with a question. Does Park City Municipal actually practice social equity? 

Yes, Park City invested a hundred thousand dollars in hiring Park City Community Foundation to “mobilize its deep convening experience to bring the community together in a coalition that will perform a social equity self-diagnosis, identify existing social equity resources and gaps, prioritize the most significant and addressable social equity challenges, develop a multiyear strategic plan, and support Park City Municipal Corporation in ensuring it serves a wide range of constituents.”

That’s very Park City. It sounds great, I suppose. 

Diane, if the Park Record was right, you received a year’s severance — about $140,000. Some seem offended at that notion, but I’m happy for you. You get one day’s notice, and then you’re shown the door. That could upend almost anyone’s life. You deserve it. You’ve done well for Park City.

Yet, Park City has many employees. Many of them also have done well for Park City. Do they all have severance packages that can pay out a year’s salary? Does a Park City building maintenance person get months of salary in severance? Does a Librarian? Does a mechanic? Does everyone single employee? They should get the same deal as the City Manager. That is, if we actually practice social equity.

Perhaps someone will surprise me and tell me that every employee of Park City Municipal gets a year or more of severance pay if they are fired without cause. If so, good on you Park City. You’re walking the walk.

If all employees don’t receive that social safety net, but some do, that’s not equitable. It reminds me that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

If one of the city’s highest priorities is social equity, shouldn’t everyone live without the fear of being let go? Shouldn’t everyone, not only managers, lawyers, and other executives, be treated the same? Shouldn’t everyone get at least six months of pay if they are let go, especially if some employees are afforded that?

Diane, I realize that’s not your problem anymore, but it is Park City’s problem. God speed to you. I know you will do well wherever you land.

And God help Park City. Hopefully, I’m wrong, and at a city level, equity is provided to all employees. That’s all within the city’s power. If they aren’t, the city’s whole social-equity-show seems a little hypocritical.


1 Comment


That year severance pay probably is a quid pro quo. Meaning we are firing you illegally but to ensure you won’t sue, here’s a brunch of money to keep you quiet and you promise to not sue.

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