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HIGH SPRINGS – Former High Springs City Planner Christian Popoli is asking for a $147,858 severance package in lieu of filing a lawsuit against the city.

According to Linda Chapman, Popoli’s attorney, the package takes into account six months of salary and benefits, loss of wife’s income, compensatory time owed to Popoli, sale of home and sick leave payout, among several other things.

After working for the City of High Springs for six years, Popoli was laid off to fund a new city position, that of city engineer.  Popoli applied for the job, but doubt was raised by Mayor Dean Davis during the April 12 Commission meeting about Popoli’s qualifications as a city engineer.

“Is that a possibility that he could get a job as an engineer, even though he’s not an engineer?” Davis said.

City Manager Jeri Langman said Popoli has every right to apply, and that she would consider each applicant when selecting the future city engineer. As an employee let go by the city, Popoli could apply for any job available within the city, Langman said.

The Cityof High Springs posted a salary of $21 hourly, the equivalent to $43,800 annually, for the new position.

Because of the constant threat of termination, the Popoli family experienced significant stress at the hands of the city, Chapman stated in her letter. In addition, Popoli will most likely have to move a great distance to find a job in this economy, which will result in the family having to sell their home and loss of the salary of Popoli’s wife, Christy.  All of these items have been factored into the requested severance package by Chapman.

“He is asking for much less from the City in settlement than a Court would award him, as he has not factored the loss of his future pension, front pay until retirement or back pay after ‘termination’ into this demand,” reads Chapman’s proposed settlement letter.

Earlier, Chapman had said her office has been filing and will continue to file documents and complaints with the State Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Governor, the United State Department of Labor and the Alachua County Circuit Court.