Briefs: Farmington agrees to $23,000 settlement over ex-finance director

  • Updated: November 30, 2012 - 7:11 PM

Farmington has agreed to pay $23,000 to avoid a lawsuit over the departure of former Finance Director Teresa Walters, who quit abruptly in early June.

The city will pay $10,000 and the balance will be covered by its insurer, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, said Mayor Todd Larson. The agreement includes $3,000 in fees for Walters' attorney, John Fabian. Fabian didn't return a phone call.

Farmington City Attorney Joel Jamnik said in a letter to the city that Walters' possible claims included one covered by the state's whistleblower statute. Jamnik said he and the League Trust recommended the settlement to avoid litigation costs and the "possible ramifications to all of the parties depending on the various outcomes" should the matter go to court.

Larson said the separation agreement forbids city officials from talking about why Walters left, and whether the whistleblower or other claims were frivolous.

"I'd love to give you my opinion on it but I can't," Larson said. "Unfortunately, that is the way life is. People threaten to sue ... Anyone can sue anyone, and the quickest and usually cheapest way is to settle it."

"It's the path of least expense," said Council Member Jason Bartholomay. "The city is not saying it did or didn't happen."

The settlement agreement lists potential claims that Walters will not pursue, including severance pay, wrongful termination, defamation, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress and age, civil or human rights claims.

The agreement also says the city will remove and retain in a confidential file all performance evaluations in Walter's official personnel file except for one dated Sept. 14, 2010.

Walters, 49, who worked more than two years for the city, did not return calls. She said in June she was leaving for personal reasons. She has since been hired by the Metropolitan Council in St. Paul as a manager of accounting and financial reporting, according to her Linked-In listing. She also has worked for Waseca and Bloom-ington.

In May 2011, the City Council approved a $67,000 severance package for former City Administrator Peter Herlofsky to avoid threatened litigation. He had announced his resignation shortly after the council discussed asking him for pay concessions.

DAKOTA COUNTY

Applicants sought for advisory boards

The Dakota County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications for several volunteer committees that provide guidance to the county board.

The committees include: the Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board; the Community Corrections Advisory Board; the Extension Committee; the Human Services Advisory Committee; the Library Board; the Personnel Board of Appeals; the Planning Commission; the Public Art Citizen Advisory Committee; the Special Board of Appeal and Equalization, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

For more information on what each committee does and specific openings, go to www.co.dakota.mn.us/Govern ment/CAC/Pages/default. aspx.

Incumbents may be eligible for reappointment, and citizen advisory committee applications are retained for one year.

Dakota County residents interested in serving on a committee may call the county administration at 651-438-4418 for an application. The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 7.

EAGAN

Rotary Club gives $30,000 in grants

The Eagan Rotary Club gave 15 non-profit organizations grants totaling $30,000 at its annual award ceremony in November.

This year's grants went to Black Hawk Middle School, Caponi Art Park, Cheerful Givers, Dakota Woodlands, DARTS, Eagan Art Festival, Eagan Funfest, Eagan Men's Chorus, Eagan Resource Center, Eagan Yellow Ribbon, Eagan High School FIRST Robotics Team, Inver Hills Community College, Kids 'N Kinship, Lifeworks, ProAct and The Link.

"Our club is focused on making a difference, on making Eagan an even better place," said Quinn Hutson, chair of the Community Service Committee. "We're proud to be able to help so many Eagan-serving organizations with an important source of ... funding."

Established in 1987, the Eagan Rotary Foundation has awarded grants for hundreds of projects, providing $1 million in funding for a wide range of education, social service, youth, arts and civic-focused organizations and agencies.

EAGAN

New Year's Eve party at Lebanon Hills

Snowshoe and hike by candlelight, sled on a lighted hill and enjoy s'mores by the fire at a family New Year's Eve Party planned for 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center in Eagan.

Storyteller Roy Edward Power and magician Matt Dunn will entertain, and the New Year will be welcomed in with a countdown and ball drop at 8 p.m.

Admission is $8 per person if pre-registered by Dec. 29 and $10 per person the day of the event. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free.

Food will be available for sale and snowshoes will be rented, but bring your own sleds and skates.

LAURIE BLAKE, JIM ADAMS

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