Former administrator settles suit with city

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 1/7/97.

The Paynesville City Council reviewed a written settlement and release agreement between the council and former city administrator Kevan McCarney at their Dec. 30 council meeting.

Following a closed session, the council passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Joe Voss to sign the agreement and release on behalf of the city. The agreement states McCarneyís position as economic development director has been eliminated. City Administrator Dennis Wilde will assume all responsibilities for the job previously performed by McCarney as EDAP director. In addition, the city administrator will not make any disparaging comments about McCarney.

In the agreement, Kevan and Marcia McCarney and the city agreed to the following:
ē McCarneys agreed to release all claims, causes of action, present and future, against the city.

ē McCarney will be paid $45,247 from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, on behalf of the city of Paynesville (minus taxes) and $29,752 in attorney fees.
ē The city will allow McCarney to keep a scanner purchased for his use together with attachments to attach scanner to computer and all software to operate scanner.

ē McCarney will take an unpaid leave of absence from Jan. 1 to June 30, 1997. He will not accrue sick time, vacation time or any other benefits during this time. The city will continue to pay for his health insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance through June 30, 1997.

ē City will pay accrued vacation time up to Jan. 1, 1997.
ē McCarneys agree to give up all claims against the city in exchange for receiving the money. The money is a full and fair payment for the release of all of our claims.

In addition, even though the city is paying the McCarneys, they do not admit it is responsible or legally obligated to pay their claims. In fact, the city denies it is responsible or legally obligated for their claim or that it has engaged in any wrongdoing.

In January 1994, McCarney filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). McCarney withdrew his charges from the EEOC and asked to receive a ďright to sueĒ letter from the EEOC which gave him the right to commence a private lawsuit. In January 1996, McCarney filed a discrimination suit against the city in U.S. District Court. McCarney asked for compensatory damages, punitive damages, court costs and other such relief deemed just and equitable by the court.

McCarney lost his eyesight as a result of diabetes and was considered blind by February 1992. He continued his employment as city administrator until Sept. 1, 1994. McCarney was employed by the city as administrator from Feb. 13, 1989 until Sept. 1, 1994. He was reassigned to the position of economic development director with a decrease in pay during an August 1994 meeting.

Prior to the demotion, the city had hired Martin-McAllister, consulting psychologists, to assist in assessing the allegations and evaluating city hall management.

In a prepared statement following the assessment, the council said they had reviewed the positives and negatives in the report and found the negatives outweighed the positives and found a change was necessary.

The negatives included poor morale, a sense of fear and anxiety among city staff, a lack of any trust among city staff members and between staff and administration and a high personnel turnover rate.

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