Friday, April 3, 2009 | 3:20 p.m.
An attorney for Henderson City Manager Mary Kay Peck is disputing reports that Peck is on her way out of the city, saying Peck hopes to return from paid leave and complete the 18 months that remain in her contract.
Attorney Norman H. Kirshman issued a statement on Peck’s behalf Friday afternoon in which he confirmed that Peck had been asked by city officials to take 30 days of paid leave beginning March 17, but said there have been no negotiations with the city regarding the terms of her departure.
Peck’s annual performance review -- which originally had been scheduled for the March 17 City Council meeting -- is on the agenda for the April 14 meeting.
Kirshman said Peck was never given a definitive reason as to why she was asked to take leave.
“I actually don’t know, quite frankly,” Kirshman told the Sun. “It’s easy to read between the lines, but I don’t know that she was told anything.”
In his release, Kirshman called reports that linked Peck’s leave to the way she handled budget projections “absolutely false.”
“As Ms. Peck’s attorney, it is my personal conclusion that political motivations have been substituted for rational thinking notwithstanding the cost to the city,” Kirshman said in his statement.
Kirshman said Peck’s contract called for a review at six months after her appointment in October 2007, but that the review never happened. To date, he said, Peck has never been evaluated for her performance in the 18 months since her appointment.
Councilman Andy Hafen said city employees appointed by the City Council are rarely given formal evaluations because they interact with council members frequently and get constant feedback.
Hafen declined to comment on the possibility of Peck’s return or any other specifics of Kirshman’s statement.
“The only thing that I know is on the agenda at this point is the evaluation that was continued from the previous meeting,” Hafen said.
Kirshman said he has had some conversations with city representatives regarding the situation, but none that he said rose to the level of formal negotiations. At this point in time, he said, Peck is hopeful that the situation can be resolved and that she can return to work.
“I think she’s a strong enough person, with enough self-confidence, that she could (return),” Kirshman said.
In the statement, Kirshman listed a number of accomplishments the city has made under Peck’s tenure, including Henderson’s second appearance in Money Magazine’s list of America’s Best Places to Live, a January poll in which 90 percent of Henderson residents expressed satisfaction with the city’s quality of life, an poll of city employees that found a 90 percent satisfaction rate and several awards and recognitions the city has earned.