Hillsboro settles with former SSD over firing


By Gary Abernathy - gabernathy@timesgazette.com



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HILLSBORO — The city of Hillsboro has reached a settlement with former safety and service director Todd Wilkin over Wilkin’s challenge of his dismissal by mayor Drew Hastings last November.

The agreement calls for Wilkin to be paid $82,500, roughly the amount of a year’s salary. The settlement will be paid by the city’s insurance provider. The settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing by the city.

Wilkin signed the agreement on June 24, and Hastings signed it Wednesday, according to the document obtained by The Times-Gazette through a public records request.

The mayor said Wednesday he could not comment on the terms of the settlement.

From the total settlement, Wilkin will receive $55,000 “for allegations of non-economic damages including emotional distress,” according to the document. His attorneys, Freking, Myers & Reul LLC, will receive $27,500 for attorney fees and costs, according to the terms outlined in the settlement agreement.

The agreement releases the city from further claims. Wilkin “gives up his right to sue or pursue any claim or lawsuit against the city, for anything that occurred prior to the date that he signed this agreement,” according to the settlement.

The agreement stipulates that Wilkin will not seek re-employment with the city during the Hastings administration.

Wilkin was dismissed from his job on Nov. 22 of last year, about two weeks after the end of a trial that saw Hastings charged with four felonies. Two of the charges were thrown out by the judge during the trial, and a jury acquitted Hastings of the remaining two charges.

Wilkin was a key witness in the trial, and after his firing his attorneys notified the city that Wilkin was appealing his dismissal, claiming that Wilkin was a whistleblower and Hastings’ actions were retaliatory. Hastings denied that the firing was in retaliation for Wilkin’s involvement in the investigation or his testimony at trial.

Wilkin, who was hired in 2013 at an initial salary of $74,000, was paid at least another $9,000 after his dismissal, after law director Fred Beery instructed the city auditor to continue paying Wilkin. Hastings strenuously objected to the continued payments.

After a special city council meeting on Jan. 18 requested by Hastings and held in executive session, Beery sent an email to the auditor and other city officials, writing, “Effective immediately, all pay and benefits to Todd Wilkin should cease. This determination is based upon consultation with and advice from special counsel for the city. Please call me with any questions.”

Also copied was special counsel Drew Piersall, who represented the city in the Wilkin matter.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at gabernathy@timesgazette.com.

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http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/06/web1_wilkin-todd-mug.jpgWilkin

By Gary Abernathy

gabernathy@timesgazette.com