Casco pays town manager leave time; reduces debt

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — In late June, Casco’s elected public officials drafted a new work contract with Town Manager Dave Morton.

As pointed out by the auditor, Morton’s 1000-plus hours of accumulated leave time showed up as a liability, or debt owed, on the books. The new contract, which was effective as of July 1, 2012, permitted no more than five days of leave time to be rolled over at the end of each calendar year.

The imminent decision was: At what rate does the town pay the town manager for vacation days and sick days that had already been accrued prior to signing the new work contract?

On Tuesday night, the Casco Board of Selectmen voted, 3–2, to pay Morton $38,900.

Selectmen Paul Edes and Tracy Kimball cast the dissenting votes. Both had said the best approach was to use the formula from the old contract, which resulted in more money being paid to Morton.

According to the motion made by Chairman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes, the reasons for doing this were “…in recognition of a changed work agreement, and to reduce the town’s liability on the books, and to compensate the town manager for accumulated earned leave time that is owed to him.”

The $39,800 represents 1,125 hours of leave time that had been rolled over during the five-year period of the old work contract.

Morton will be paid from money in the Employee Liability Account.

“At the end of July, I had accumulated 1,125 hours. That was the time that agreement had ended. If you pro-rate that, it goes to 1,036 hours,” Morton said.

However, his calculations for paid-out accrued leave time were higher than those done by Town Auditor Bruce Nadeau.

Both Nadeau and Morton claimed that either calculation was correct.

Morton based his on the rate for the old contract — since the leave time had already been accrued under that contract. Nadeau relied on the conversion scale for the new work contract.

“It’s not erroneous how Dave calculated it,” Nadeau said.

He asked the board if there was language in the new contract that indicated how to handle the payout of leave time accrued before July 1, 2012. He asked if the new pro-rate was retroactive.

Selectman Kimball said her recollection was that the pro-rating scale for the leave time on the books “wasn’t made clear.”

Morton said, “Going forward, the board suggested the pro-rated language.”

Kimball asked a few clarifying questions prior to weighing in on the subject.

“The discrepancy should be in Dave’s favor. He couldn’t accumulate any more time because he was already maxed out,” she said.

“We would have owed him the money if he had walked out on July 1,” Kimball said.

Edes agreed with Kimball’s take on it.

“Anything up to the new contract, we should pay at the rate of the old contract. The new contract will have a new carryover.

This (is money) we owed him before July 1, 2012. I think it should be paid on his previous rate, and not by the new contract agreement that we signed,” Edes said.

When the motion was made, the monetary payout was less than Morton had calculated, and less than Edes and Kimball had supported.

Selectman Ray Grant said, “When we negotiated the new contract, it made it a whole different one.”

 

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