His departure came less than a week after a two-year development director contract was delivered to him Friday. A copy obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune showed his annual salary would drop from $115,668 to $82,500, plus he'd be given a $2,400 annual car allowance and $5,000 in severance pay if terminated after six months for reasons not including being arrested for illegal acts or malfeasance.
Nighswonger rejected those terms last Friday and responded with his own counter-offer that included a salary of about $95,000 due to his nearly two decades of Housing Authority service and $100,000 in severance, according to an Aug. 23 email exchange obtained by The Tribune. Attempts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.
Housing Authority Commissioner Dave Mansell said he received a text Tuesday morning from Nighswonger saying he'd been fired. Mansell lamented Nighswonger's departure and praised his development acumen.
"He wanted to work for at least two more years to get two more developments completed he was excited about them," Mansell said. "He was a wonderful developer and the facilities we've built have been outstanding."
Created in 1970, the Housing Authority provides federal rent subsidies and affordable housing to low-income residents.
Mansell said he had hoped that Nighswonger would have accepted the board-approved contract or offered reasonable counter-terms.
Mansell said some commissioners thought Nighswonger's counter-offer was outrageous, adding that he thought it was "a little over the top" as well.
Nighswonger now has 21 days to consider a new severance agreement offered to him Tuesday, Feveryear said.