Fired Carbondale employee suing town for $1 million
Former Carbondale town utilities supervisor Tom McClelland has filed a wrongful termination claim against the town.McClelland’s attorney Richard Dally filed the claim Monday, which seeks $1 million in damages.”Mr. McClelland was fired because he reported to law enforcement numerous crimes committed by a Carbondale town official,” Dally said. “Although that town official pled guilty to those crimes, it appears that it was OK with Carbondale local government.”The claim revolves around Carbondale utility director Ed Fortner who was found guilty of poaching a deer from his back porch on Nov. 6, 2005, and received a ticket from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He was also accused of using a town truck and employee to discard the remains, and involving other utility department employees in the incident.Fortner was also under investigation for wrongfully firing McClelland, who worked in the water and waste water department.During the town’s investigation into the matter, Fortner was on unpaid administrative leave. Mountain States Employers Council, which was retained to conduct the investigation, found that Fortner did act inappropriately, but the town determined the behavior was not grounds for dismissal.Carbondale town manager Tom Baker has said McClelland was dismissed because of poor job performance. He was fired on Jan. 20, 2005.Baker confirmed the town had received the notice of claim from Dally, which will be referred to the town attorney and the town’s insurance company.Carbondale has 90 days to respond to the notice. After 90 days, if the town has not responded to the claim, Dally can file a lawsuit in district court against the town.In the notice of claim, Dally alleges that Fortner “verbally and physically assault(ed) Tom McClelland in the workplace at the town of Carbondale.”Further, Dally said the town terminated McClelland “in retaliation for performing his civic duty” in reporting Fortner’s alleged misdeeds.The town denies those allegations.”We’ve taken some time on this matter and we certainly don’t feel the allegations made in the notice of claim are accurate,” Baker said.
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