HELENA-WEST HELENA- After years of legal wrangling over the amount and duration of retirement benefits to be paid to former Mayor Johnny Weaver, the Helena-West Helena City Council voted to settle the existing litigation with the former Mayor.
The terms of the settlement mean Weaver will be paid a benefit based on a salary less than he made his final year in office and less than the salaries of Mayor James Valley, who was the current Mayor when the lawsuit was filed, and less than the salary of current Mayor Arnell Willis.
However, in exchange for the smaller pension, the City Council agreed to lower the retirement age to 55, which means Weaver will get almost five years in back retirement pay. However, if Weaver lives to an age predicted by current life expectancy estimates, it will mean less expense to the city over the long-term.
The vote on the settlement was overwhelming with nine council members in favor. Only Alderman Joe St. Columbia abstained from the vote.