Settlement with former assistant fire chief is OK'd - Watertown Daily Times Online : News

Settlement with former assistant fire chief is OK'd

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 11:57 am

The Watertown Common Council unanimously approved a settlement with former Assistant Fire Chief Michael Quint for $45,000 over a complaint Quint had filed in December 2010 against the city, former fire Chief Henry Butts and Mayor Ron Krueger.

The settlement will close the case Quint brought against the city.

Quint had alleged Butts sent hateful letters to various fire departments that were considering Quint for vacant fire chief positions after Quint and Butts signed a settlement in January of 2010 in which Quint voluntarily agreed to resign from the fire department. Quint received nearly $60,000 in severance payments as part of the settlement. Previously, in 2009, Quint filed a complaint against Butts alleging serious misconduct on Butt’s part.

As a condition of the first settlement, the city and Butts agreed a letter of reference from the mayor would be the sole reference from the city for Quint’s records. The settlement also included a provision that stated both Butts and Quint would seek to avoid negative public comments about the other for the good of all parties. The original complaint filed in December of 2010 said both Butts and Quint understood there may be separate causes of action for making such statements.

Quint later accused Butts of breaching the agreement by sending hateful letters to various fire department across the county which were considering hiring Quint. Quint had used DNA evidence from envelopes and soda cans to show that Butts was the person sending the letters.

Butts voluntarily resigned from his position on Nov. 30, 2010, amid an internal investigation of the fire department.

Quint’s complaint against the city, seeking almost $800,000 in damages, was denied by the Common Council in April of 2011. Quint responded by filing a civil suit against the city in June of 2011 in Jefferson County Court.

“This matter has come to a solution. They have been asking for $176,000, our insurance company agreed to settle this for $45,000,” Krueger said. “It was deemed to be in the best interest of the city to agree to this settlement.”

The council also approved a resolution authorizing the city attorney to seek legal action in Dodge County Court to force property owners Alexander and Loreta Zubrod to resolve a public nuisance at 1405 Prospect St. in Watertown.

“We have a hoarding situation at a property in the city. Our building inspection department has been working with these people to get it cleaned up ... there has not been any action (by the property owners) so we have authorized the city attorney to take further steps with the Dodge County Circuit Court,” Krueger said.

According to the resolution, the city building inspector determined in November of 2011 the residence was unfit for human habitation due to an overabundance of personal property and trash inside and in the yard of the home. The Zubrods rented a Dumpster but have made no further attempts to remove the personal property and trash, according to the resolution.

The building inspector also determined there are electoral code violations in the property, which when combined with the amount of debris inside the home, creates a fire hazard, according to the resolution.

The council also approved four resolutions relating to the taxi service in the city, including approving a shared-ride taxi service agreement with Passenger Transit Inc., to approve leasing 18 vehicles to Passenger Transit, authorizing the city to apply for an operating assistance grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for $715,156 to offset the cost of the shared-ride taxi service and a resolution setting the taxi rates for 2013.

The rates were approved at $3 for adults, $2 for children under 12 years old, $1.50 for children accompanying an adult to the same destination, $2.50 for children 12 to 18 years old, $2 for disabled persons and seniors 60 years and older, $3.75 for a prescription delivery per package, $1.50 for corner stop service and $7.50 for a mile outside of the city limits. Alderman Robert Stocks said the rates were unchanged from 2012.

In other business the council:

— Delayed action on a resolution to approve state Highway 26 maintenance agreement with the town of Watertown until the council’s next meeting to discuss the terms of the agreement with officials from the town of Watertown.

— Approved a resolution authorizing the city to hire Crane Engineering from Kimberly for $83,250 to repaint and repair the primary clarifier number 1 at the wastewater treatment plant.

— Approved a resolution hiring Robert E. Lee and Associates to complete the 2013 plans and specifications for street reconstruction, water main replacement, sanitary sewer and storm work. The estimated cost for the work will range from $70,000 to $100,000. The city currently does not have any engineering staff to complete the planning and specifications in-house.

— Approved an ordinance on its first reading to allow property owners of multi-family properties with more than four units to opt into the city’s solid waste collect services. Alderman Tony Arnett said the rates for these units would be the same as for every other unit in the city.

— Approved an upgrade for the computer system at the health department to bring it under the same vendor and to use the same email server as the rest of the city departments located in the municipal building. According to the resolution the cost of the upgrade is not to exceed $10,623.

— Approved appointing Paul Dettman, of 223 E. Spaulding St., to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Ora Kuckkan, 914 Reinhold St., to the Cable TV Regulatory Board.

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