RANGELEY — A former 14-year town employee Everett Quimby has filed a lawsuit against the town and Town Manager Perry Ellsworth over his termination from his public works foreman job in February 2008.
According to court and other documents, Quimby was accused of verbally abusive behavior toward fellow employees he supervised and then retaliating against those making complaints. The Maine Department of Labor, administrative hearings division, and an independent arbitrator ruled in favor of the town in previous hearings, according to documents.
Quimby was wrongly accused in some incidents, according to the lawsuit and an independent arbitrator’s report. The lawsuit also states the Maine Human Rights Commission issued a right-to-sue letter on behalf of Quimby.
He is demanding a trial by jury and is also seeking an injunctive relief regarding the termination. Quimby’s attorneys, David Webbert and Elizabeth Burnett filed the civil suit in February in Franklin County Superior Court in Farmington. The town’s attorney, Stephen Langsdorf accepted service of the suit on April 20.
“The town of Rangeley strongly denies Mr. Quimby’s allegations. He was terminated in early 2008 for abusive behavior toward town employees he supervised and retaliation against them for complaining about him,” Langsdorf said. “Two multi-day hearings have already occurred in this case, before an independent arbitrator and the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission. Both fully ruled in favor of the town. It is unfortunate in these times of tight budgets that Mr. Quimby is wasting more public resources continuing to pursue his claims.”
“Everett Quimby loves the town of Rangeley with its unique beauty and caring, friendly people,” Webbert said. “As an employee of the town for 14 years, he always willingly gave his best effort and was officially recognized for his outstanding work. He has done everything he could to resolve his employment dispute through an amicable resolution and that remains his goal.”
The lawsuit claims Quimby was terminated without due process or progressive discipline in violation of the town’s personnel policy.
“The town violated the written promise in its policy that an employee has the right to appeal a termination decision ‘to the Maine Labor Relations Board for binding arbitration.’”
The suit also claims that the termination violated the Maine Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and the Maine Human Rights Act.
“The Town Manager Perry Ellsworth maliciously and falsely defamed Mr. Quimby, his family members and other innocent residents of Rangeley during the termination process,” according to the lawsuit.
Quimby consistently received favorable evaluations for his job performance, and in one done in October 2007, he was praised as an “outstanding supervisor with the experience, talent, and determination needed to lead a strong, efficient highway department. He is thoughtful, concerned with the welfare of his subordinates and committed to providing the town with the maximum quality and quantity of highway services for the money invested.”
Quimby is seeking remedies that include declaratory relief, injunctive relief and reinstatement, back pay and benefits, compensatory damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses.
Ellsworth terminated Quimby after he investigated allegations made against him. According to arbitrator, Stephen Wade’s report, Ellsworth previously counseled Quimby in response to derogative comments Quimby made to fellow employees and Quimby’s conduct improved. That prompted the 2007 favorable evaluation. But conduct deteriorated after that.
Quimby was not provided with copies of written complaints that the town manager relied on to justify his termination, which violated the town’s policy, according to the lawsuit. It also claims the town manager gave false reasons, including a complaint of sexual harassment, for his decision to terminate Quimby.
NOTE: The first name of Everett Quimby’s attorney, David Webbert was incorrectly reported in an earlier version of story.