WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY


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Newport’s insurance company to pay former city employee $180,000 in discrimination, retaliation and layoff lawsuit.

Newport’s Insurance Company reaches settlement in Ewing Case

Provided by City Manager Jim Voetberg

Attorneys for CCIS, the City of Newport’s insurance company, and Cheryl Ewing, the city’s former human resources coordinator, have reached a settlement in the lawsuit that Ewing filed against the city in 2010.

The terms of the settlement include an insurance payment to Ewing of $180,000 to settle claims against the city; dismissal of all claims against City Manager Jim Voetberg and former City Attorney Penelope McCarthy. The settlement also contains a provision that Ewing will not apply for any city position in the future. Ewing, a former city Human Resources Coordinator, was recently laid off after City Manager Jim Voetberg informed the city council that her position was expendable due to budget constraints. On the advice of Voetberg, the council went along with the elimination of her job.

Ewing had worked for the city for about five years, including under both previous city managers Allen O’Neil and Dale Shaddox, who reportedly both gave Ewing good marks on her job performance. But after Voetberg became city manager and Penelope McCarthy became city attorney, her job situation changed substantially, according to Ewing’s suit. Ultimately Ewing filed a discrimination claim and then another for alleged retaliation she claimed she suffered for filing the first claim.

In a 5:01pm news release, Voetberg said he was pleased that CCIS and Ewing’s attorney have agreed to the settlement. He stated, that “lawsuits of this nature often have an impact on employee morale,“ and with this issue behind us, the city can concentrate on moving forward and building on recent successes.”

When contacted by NewsLincolnCounty.com, Mayor Mark McConnell said he was aware of the settlement, but beyond that he had no comment. City Councilor Jeff Bertuleit said he too was aware of the settlement but would say only that “It’s good to settle and move on.” Bertuleit added “Our recent city employee survey indicated that we might need additional supervisor training for our department managers but we’ve already arranged to hire someone to do that.” Councilor Lon Brusselback said he was glad the issue is behind the city. But I’m glad the $180,000 came out of the city’s insurance company bank account and not the city of Newport’s.” He added, “Under the terms of the settlement Cheryl Ewing agrees never to apply for a job with the city, and that both sides in the dispute admit to no wrongdoing. And for that I’m grateful.” Councilor Dick Beemer said he had no comment.

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