KENNEWICK — Clark Haueter has agreed to accept nearly $8,000 in severance pay from the Kennewick Irrigation District in exchange for promising not to sue the district after being fired from his $100,000-a-year treasurer job.
District board members unanimously approved the agreement at a special meeting Tuesday.
KID Manager Chuck Freeman placed Haueter on unpaid administrative leave in late April following an outside financial review that said Haueter was not qualified for the job he had held for two years.
LeMaster Daniels CPA in Kennewick was paid $65,000 to review KID's finances for three years ending in 2009. The company's report said Haueter lacked "the necessary accounting background to fully perform the basic functions required of an accounting department manager."
The severance pay of $7,961 is the equivalent of four weeks of pay, as provided by KID policy when Haueter was hired in February 2008.
The agreement also allows Haueter to seek unemployment benefits with no objection from KID, as long has he "does not misrepresent the reason for termination, which was due to inability of (Haueter) to meet (Freeman's) expectations," according to terms of the agreement.
Haueter could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
He was hired by former district manager Doug Grover, who was fired by the board a year later.
Although the treasurer's job description called for applicants to have a degree in finance or accounting and experience as a CPA was preferred, Haueter's credentials included a bachelor's degree in psychology from Brigham Young University and a master's degree in business administration from WSU Tri-Cities.
Grover chose to pay Haueter $20,000 a year more than the $80,000 that originally was advertised in seeking applications for the position.
Prior to being hired at KID, Haueter was vice chancellor for finance and administration at WSU Tri-Cities. He lost that job following a scandal at the university that involved overstating attendance numbers reported to the state.
* John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org