Yes, Polson City Manager, Todd Crossett, is suing the city. The complaint was entered into Lake County Judicial Court dated March 11, 2013. The details:
Todd’s contract states “Retirement benefits for Employee shall be the same as other employees, that is, Employee shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in the Montana Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), subject to the rules and regulations pertaining to such participation.” Todd rejected the option to participate in PERS. He contributes to the City Managers Association, which he said seemed more secure.
For employees who do participate, the city pays 7.07% of gross wages each month into a retirement plan and the employee matches that amount. Todd opted out. But, for nearly 2 years he was receiving a cash payout of 7.07% with his paycheck. That was a mistake, not in his contract, and had nothing to do with PERS. Someone caught this mistake last May and stopped the payment of free money. When Todd noticed, he took the matter to City Attorney James Raymond, and Mr. Raymond asked the city, on October 15, 2012, for an amendment to Todd’s contract so he could get the back pay and pay going forward! Mr. Raymond called this a little housekeeping matter! You can read the entire discussion in the October 15, 2012 city council minutes here: City Council Minutes
In the lawsuit, Todd is asking for past due payment of $10,390. PLUS he claims Montana Code allows a penalty of up to $110% if an employer owes unpaid wages. That is another $21,819. PLUS his contract states that if his salary, compensation, or other financial benefits are reduced, it is a breach of contract and is regarded as termination! SO, he considers himself terminated, and per his contract, is asking for 25% severance pay of $27,500. This totals $50,000 and he also asks the city pay his legal fees to be determined by the court.
What does not make sense is why he is still showing up for work if he considers himself terminated? Why is the city of Polson allowing him to negotiate major projects? Why doesn’t the city cease paying him now? Doesn’t it seem that Todd just wants to milk this for all he can get, paychecks now plus severance pay, while he seeks a new employer?