Hartley “Skip” Mowatt appeared before the Board of Selectmen Monday night, claiming the town owed him 5 weeks of unpaid vacation-time. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc

PARIS ⁠— The Board of Selectmen refused Monday evening to pay former Police Chief Hartley “Skip” Mowatt for five weeks of accrued vacation time he said he is owed.

Paris Police Chief Hartley “Skip” Mowatt retired May 31. Advertiser Democrat photo by Jon Bolduc

Mowatt, who retired from the job May 31, said he was paid for a single day of unused vacation time on his final paycheck.

Reading his letter to selectmen, Mowatt said that every six months, a designated amount of vacation hours are accrued, with the amount depending on the tenure of the employee. Under certain circumstances, including resignation, death, or retirement, an employee would be compensated for unused and approved vacation time.

Mowatt requested to be paid October 2018 to May 2019.

“All I’m doing is requesting the money that is owed me,” he said. 

Board Chairman Rusty Brackett said vacation time is not “accrued,” but allotted every year on the anniversary of the employee’s hiring date.

Some companies give out Christmas bonuses,” he said. “To get it, you have to be employed on Christmas.”

“Nothing in the vacation policy or town practice applying to the vacation policy states that employees accrue any portion of that vacation bank during the prior year,” Brackett said, reading from a letter drafted by Matt Tarasevich, a litigator representing the town. The town has no legal or policy obligation to credit him with any prorated vacation time prior to his anniversary date. When he retires, he is owed what is on the books as of this date,” Brackett read.

Selectman Gary Vaughn said the only way Mowatt would be entitled to vacation time pay would be if he reached his October hiring anniversary and subsequently retired. He said Mowatt has used his last allotment of vacation time.

“You’ve already been paid for five weeks, Vaughn said. “In my estimation, the only way you are entitled to more vacation time is (on) your anniversary date of this upcoming year.”

Citing the section of the policy indicating an employee should be paid upon retirement for unused vacation time, Mowatt said not reaching his hiring anniversary didn’t apply in this case.

Though selectmen maintained that vacation time wasn’t “accrued” like sick time, Mowatt still said he was still owed for five weeks.

When someone comes up and says hey, the policy says this, (I say) well that’s not its intent. Upon resignation or retirement, you get what you’ve accrued. To me, I’ve accrued from October until now,” Mowatt said.

It hasn’t been done for anyone else in the same situation,” Brackett said. 

“I’m not anyone else,” Mowatt said. “I’m coming up with what’s written in the policy. The policy says that I am due my approved vacation.”

Before leaving the meeting, Mowatt said he would reach out to the Maine Labor Relations Board.