RYE – 6:04 p.m. EDT April 24, 2014 - Lohud has the new story...
"The alleged scam at the Rye Golf Club involving phony companies and fictitious employees cost the city millions — and now, at least in part — has cost the city manager his job.
Mayor Joe Sack announced Wednesday night that Scott Pickup had reached a separation agreement with the city, and had resigned his position effective the end of that night.
"I think there's a time and a place for everything," Sack said Thursday. "This was the right time for the city and Mr. Pickup to part ways, so that is what we did."
Sack said the Golf Club scandal "was an issue" in the minds of City Council members as they discussed Pickup's fate. Asked about Pickup's performance, Sack said, "He's gone. It's over."
The city has recalled—for a third time—former manager Frank Culross to replace Pickup until a long-term manager is found. Culross will earn an annual salary of $198,400 and have "exclusive and unrestricted use" of a city car.
His most recent managerial stint came just before Pickup's 2010 hiring, when he filled the void left by the ousted Paul Shew, who later sued the city for $150,000 in back pay. The city had suspended Shew for, among other alleged faults, failing to complete assignments.
The separation agreement with Pickup, posted online by the city, is an attempt to avert that kind of acrimony. It provides for Pickup to continue working for the city through July 10 — or whatever date the state retirement service determines he qualifies for 20 years of service.
The city will pay him a "one-time severance payment" of $59,375 as well as continuing to pay him his bi-weekly salary during that period. His annual pay is $177,500.
Pickup, who could not be reached for comment, will act as an assistant to the city manager until he departs, but also agreed to use up "all accrued vacation and personal days." He will continue to have use of a city car and cell phone, among other benefits, through the end of the term.
The agreement also says Pickup "agrees to provide reasonable cooperation ... in any legal, investigative or other matters in which (the city) or any of its employees, boards or commissions are currently involved or may be involved in arising out of the time period when Mr. Pickup acted as an employee of the city."
Pickup's departure comes five months after the former general manager of the city-operated Rye Golf Club was arraigned on a grand larceny charge accusing him of stealing $271,120 from the city and club.
Scott Yandrasevich, 49, of Danbury, Conn., who worked at the city-owned club for 11 years, resigned in January 2013, a month before Rye's City Council released a 17-page report detailing a dizzying paper trail of shell companies, ghost employees and bogus invoices at the club.
Prosecutors said Yandrasevich stole from the club through a shell company known as RM Staffing, which he created, controlled and used to bill the city for services that were never provided.
He is due back in court in Rye on Tuesday, Westchester County District Attorney Lucian Chalfen said.
Sack, who was elected mayor in November, had been critical of Pickup for signing off on many of the invoices that were ultimately called into question. On Thursday, Sack said the club scandal was a factor in the decision to part ways with Pickup, but not the only one. Asked about Pickup's role in the case, Sack demurred.
"I'm not really focused on that now," he said. "I'm focusing on the positives. I'm not being very retrospective at this moment."
Still, the city has filed a $2 million claim with its insurance carrier, indicating that the losses from Yandrasevich's alleged thefts exceed the amount included in the charge against him.
"We hope and expect they will pay on the claim," Sack said.
Rye resident Ted Carroll, who had sharp words for officials at Wednesday's meeting, later said he was skeptical that the city government's woes would be solved by Pickup's departure.
"We've had a plague of city managers who have been complacent that end up turning into giant fiascoes," he said. "Thank God Frank Culross is still alive and willing to come back to the city manager's desk."
Before Pickup's appointment as city manager he had served as the city's assistant manager for the previous five years.
Staff writer Liz Anderson contributed to this report."