FARGO — While former Fargo Park District Executive Director Joel Vettel received a severance package earlier this month after he resigned, another top park district official received a similar agreement last November.
Jennifer Satter, of Briarwood, who served as human resources director for the district, was given three months of severance pay and 79 hours of earned vacation time by the park board. She also received health insurance for the three months.
In documents obtained through an open records request, the six-page agreement she signed on Nov. 20 was meant to be "confidential," similar to what was in Vettel's severance package.
It stated "no formal public announcement will be made" regarding Satter's resignation and that the terms of the package and even its existence must be "confidential."
The agreement didn't state how much Satter was earning, but it said she would receive her paycheck every two weeks for the three-month period.
Satter refused to comment when reached by phone Thursday, July 11.
The other top official who resigned from the park district during Vettel's three-year stint, former finance director Jim Larson, didn't receive a severance package as he resigned and then took a job as finance director for the city of West Fargo. Larson had been with the park district for about 25 years.
In Satter's agreement it simply stated that the park board and Satter agreed that it was "in their best interests to terminate the employment relationship." However, it also said that she would be "re-hireable" for a district job.
Satter, a Fargo South High School and North Dakota State University graduate, started with the park district in September of 2015 and had served about three years.
Vettel, who was said to have created "two camps" during his three-year tenure according to a somewhat unfavorable review this past December, resigned for reasons that remain largely undefined. His severance package from the elected members of the park board will pay him about $75,000 plus benefits, including health insurance and retirement contributions, through the rest of this year.
In a statement, Vettel has said he did the job to the best of his ability but felt he could "no longer continue in the role as executive director."
His resignation was accepted at a special park board meeting Tuesday, July 2, when deputy director Dave Leker was named interim executive director. Leker was one of the two finalists for the job when Vettel was selected in 2016.
The park district has the equivalent of about 700 full-time employees with an annual budget of about $27 million. Vettel was on the park board for 12 years before accepting the director's job and served as board president twice.