Former Park Hills employee pockets $100,000 severance after seco - KMOV.com

Former Park Hills employee pockets $100,000 severance after second DWI

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In February, Whitwell was charged with a DWI and leaving the scene of an accident in Festus. (Credit: Daily Journal) In February, Whitwell was charged with a DWI and leaving the scene of an accident in Festus. (Credit: Daily Journal)

PARK HILLS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Questions are swirling around a former Park Hills employee who pocketed a six-figure severance package after leaving because of a DWI charge.

"$100,000 is a lot of money and it could have been spent on so many things," said resident Gary McKinney. 

That is what some in Park Hills say they don't understand. The big question is why former city administrator, Matt Whitwell, walked away with such a big pay day. 

In February, Whitwell was charged with a DWI and leaving the scene of an accident in Festus. Police say he was driving a Park Hills city-owned vehicle, swerved, hit a curb and kept driving. This is not his first run-in with the law, he was convicted of another DWI in 2012. 

"If you get a DWI and he was in the wrong, then you just need to walk and why they didn't let that happen, I don't understand," said McKinney. 

Last week, during a city council meeting in Park Hills, Whitwell resigned. 

The city council voted to give him $100,000 dollars in a severance package. Also at the meeting was current city council member, Steve Sutton, who was charged just over a month ago with drug trafficking.

"His vote was the deciding vote for the three to get this passed," said McKinney. 

Adding to the complication is the new mayor of Park Hills. He's not even a week into his new job and says he, along with the city attorney, are looking into the matter. 

"Who negotiated this? Did the city administrator draw this up himself and the good old boy system get this through for him? What happened?" questioned McKinney. 

Mayor Daniel Naucke said he wants to find out if they can recoup the money.

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