Payton said he was aware of his brother’s rehiring, but that he disclosed that fact and deferred any decision about it to the city’s former director of human resources, Phil Rosenberg, who retired in 2010 but remained as a $10,000-a-month consultant under contract for about one year afterward.
Rosenberg, who is no longer a paid consultant to Miramar, said Tuesday that Chris Payton was rehired on a part-time basis in 2007 as part of an informal settlement to correct a wrong that had occurred when he first retired.
Rosenberg said actuaries gave Chris Payton the wrong information about his pension benefit prior to retirement, leading Chris Payton to believe he would receive more than he actually did.
After retiring and realizing the error, Rosenberg said, Chris Payton approached his brother with the problem. Rosenberg said Robert Payton immediately disclosed the conversation, then deferred any decision on the matter to a two-person panel made up of Rosenberg and James Hunt, who was Miramar’s fire chief at the time.
Rosenberg said he felt “a duty to not walk by a problem, but to go in and deal with it honestly, openly and fix it.’’
The agreed upon solution, Rosenberg said, was to rehire Chris Payton at a salary of $50,000 a year until he was “made whole,’’ though Rosenberg could not recall exactly how much it would take to recompense Chris Payton.
Robert Payton’s compensation, however, appears to be settled.
Like many Miramar residents, Sherron Durham, 69, said she likes Payton and thinks he’s done a good job managing the once-rural municipality through its greatest period of growth over the last decade, when the city’s population nearly doubled to about 125,000.
But Durham, who has lived in Miramar since 1964 and serves on the city’s budget committee, also was taken aback by Payton’s generous payout.
“Wow,’’ she said. “It used to be, years ago, you worked for the city and you got good benefits, but you didn’t make as much money. That used to be. Now you make a lot of money and you benefit.’’
Still, Durham added: “I do like the man. He’s done our city very well.’’
Troy Samuels, a two-term city commissioner who lost reelection last week, said Payton had spoken of retirement several years ago.
“His dilemma was timing,’’ Samuels said, explaining that Payton did not want to appear as though he was abandoning the commission after last week’s election.
Samuels credited Payton with having the “vision” and administrative acumen to steer Miramar through rapid growth by helping to plan for and fund infrastructure and facilities to serve an exploding population, and managing development so the city has a uniform look.
But not all of the city’s commissioners were supporters of Payton.
Alexandra Davis, who was elected to the commission in 2010, said she and Payton spoke about his retirement shortly after the March 12 municipal election in which voters chose a new member to the dais, Yvette Colbourne over Samuels.
“This topic came up, and I told him that I would not have a problem if he resigned,’’ Davis said of Payton. “Whereas we did not always agree, I do believe he did the best job he knew how.’’
To prepare for a new era of administrative leadership, Miramar commissioners will host a public workshop on April 17 to discuss the process of selecting its first city manager since 2001.
Payton, who has called Miramar home since he was 5 years old, said he’s ready for a change of scenery — though he’s not necessarily retiring from public administration.
“I want to go to another place,’’ he said, “where I can contribute with my skill set of vision, planning and building.”