City of Farmington settles claim by former finance directorWhen former city of Farmington finance director Teresa Walters left the city’s employ last summer, it was sudden, and it was quiet. Now the city is paying her a $20,000 settlement agreement.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
When former city of Farmington finance director Teresa Walters left the city’s employ last summer, it was sudden, and it was quiet. Now the city is paying her a $20,000 settlement agreement.
Walters left the city’s abruptly on June 6. In a memo to the Farmington City Council, included in the agenda packet for Monday’s city council meeting, city attorney Joel Jamnik said his office was contacted by attorney John Fabian of the Fabian, May and Anderson law firm, on behalf of Walters.
According to the memo, Walters had retained the lawyer in connection to her separation from the city, and Fabian inquired whether the city would like to resolve Walters’ claims, rather than go into litigation.
Though Jamnik did not disclose what the claims were, other than to mention that one potentially involved Minnesota’s whistleblower statute, he did talk with city administrator David McKnight, then started negotiations with Fabian, according to the memo.
Jamnik enlisted the city’s insurance provider, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, in negotiations, since the city of Farmington only carries a maximum deduction of $10,000 and a settlement had the potential to exceed that amount. After reviewing the case, LMCIT advised a negotiated settlement.
On Monday, Jamnik presented the memo and the proposed settlement and release of claims to the city council. It was placed on the consent agenda, and was approved with other routine business.
A five-page document, the settlement states that the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust agrees to pay Walters $20,000 “for alleged non-wage related damages” and an additional $3,000 to Fabian, May and Anderson for costs and attorney fees.
“These payments are in consideration for the Release of Claims, and do not constitute back wages, back pay or severance of any kind,” the settlement reads.
The document stipulates that the agreement does not find any merit to any potential claims by Walters, and that it is not an “admission of wrongful conduct or liability on the part of the City.” By agreeing to the settlement, Walters also releases the city of Farmington from any future claims.
At the same time, once the agreement is complete, the city agrees to remove all performance evaluation forms from Walters’ official personnel file, except for the one dated Sept. 14, 2010. The removed documents will be sealed and maintained in a separate, confidential file, according to the settlement.
Council members did not discuss the issue, nor did McKnight return a phone call regarding the settlement.
Walters has 21 days to consider the settlement agreement, and 15 days from her execution of the agreement in which to rescind it.