Langley settles lawsuit for $125K

LANGLEY — The Langley City Council unanimously approved a $125,000 settlement agreement to end a lawsuit filed by a former employee who claimed he had been fired by the city late last year because of his age.

The council voted 4-0 to approve the settlement after a 30-minute, closed-door executive session during a special meeting Monday.

Frank Sullivan, who worked in the city’s public works department before he was fired in December 2010, will receive the payment in exchange for dropping his lawsuit against Langley. He had filed a damage claim against the city for $4.5 million in March, and three months later filed a lawsuit in Island County Superior Court, that alleged age discrimination.

In the three-page settlement approved Monday, the city vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

“This agreement does not concede it has any liability, and specifically denies any liability whatsoever for Sullivan’s claims,” the statement said.

The settlement also said it would cover “all damages that are claimed or could have been claimed” by Sullivan.

Some on the council said their vote came after careful consideration of the consequences of the lawsuit.

“I felt that what we learned from the lawyers, and what we have learned in this process, that the settlement was in the best interest of the city financially,” said Councilman Bob Waterman.

“I thought it was a prudent thing to do of all of the circumstances that were there,” said Councilman Hal Seligson.

City Treasurer Debbie Mahler said the city planned to issue a check for the payment Tuesday.

Langley’s insurance pool will pay $100,000 of the settlement, and the city will pay $25,000. Mahler said the city’s general fund would likely be tapped to cover the cost.

Sullivan, 68, was a public works field supervisor for Langley and was fired Oct. 29, 2010.

The city said he was let go because of budget issues, but Sullivan said he was discriminated against because of his age. He also said city officials violated Langley’s personnel policy manual when they terminated his employment.

“I just felt it was wrong and I had to stand up for myself,” Sullivan said.

“I’m satisfied for now,” he said. “It’s going to be alright; it’s going to work.”

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