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December 18. 2012 8:58PM

Dublin reaches agreement with former town employee

DUBLIN - The town has agreed to pay $57,500 in damages and lost wages to a former employee to settle a lawsuit alleging an abusive work environment.

In August 2011, Kathy Merrick, assistant to the town administrator, filed a lawsuit against the town and former town administrator Bill Raymond alleging abusive behavior on Raymond's part and the town's failure to act in her defense.

According to the settlement finalized Dec. 4, the agreement includes a "written Letter of Regret" to Merrick signed by Select Board Chairman Sterling Abram.

Abram provided Merrick with the letter at an Aug. 21 mediation session, the settlement said.

The letter reads "Ms. Merrick, The Town of Dublin regrets the events which led to you resigning your position with the Town, and the stress, humiliation, and embarrassment that those events caused you and your family."

According to the settlement, all parties involved agreed not to disclose Merrick's claims or the settlement, but that the agreement would remain on file and available to the public at the town office.

For compensation of lost wages, $19,167 was allotted. The money is to be paid to the town through the Local Government Center Property Liability Trust when all Medicare and other obligations are met. The town would then pay Merrick through town payroll with standard taxes, Social Security, Medicare and FICA taken out.

The remaining $38,333 for damages is to be paid to Merrick and the Concord-based law firm that represented her, Martin & Hipple, when all Medicare and other obligations are satisfied.

Merrick resigned as assistant to the town administrator on Dec. 5, 2010, citing a hostile work environment.

Shortly after the March town meeting in 2011 Raymond resigned.

In the lawsuit, along with alleging abusive behavior on Raymond's part, Merrick alleged Raymond received a severance package from the town when he resigned, but that Merrick did not. The lawsuit also claimed that since Raymond's departure the town hired an administrator and assistant to that administrator without offering Merrick her old position.

In January, Merrick's husband, Curt Merrick, resigned from the select board after Abram asked him in a letter to step down, citing a conflict of interest.

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Meghan Pierce may be reached at mpierce@newstote.com.


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