Tiverton and Bob Martin, its long-time maintenance foreman, have settled a dispute that flared up at the end of October when Mr. Martin was accused of misuse of town resources for personal gain and at private property he owns.
The (four page, plus two page appendix) settlement package announced Thursday between the town and Mr. Martin says:
• Mr. Martin, who is 70, will retire from town employment effective April 22, which the agreement calls his “retirement date.”
• For his alleged wrongdoing, Mr. Martin was originally disciplined in his employment with the town by suspension without pay beginning Nov. 1 for three successive months — November, December, and January.
• The last two months of Mr. Martin’s disciplinary suspension without pay will be converted to two months suspension with pay, awarding him back pay ($4,183) for December, to be paid on the first payday following the date of the settlement agreement. and awarding him sick-leave pay ($5,134) for January and to the end of the last Jan. pay period on Feb. 6.
The agreement says that Mr. Martin “shall be deemed to have returned to work status as of January 1, 2014.”
• For the time period Feb. 7 to April 21, the day before the agreed date of retirement, Mr. Martin will be deemed to be on sick leave, and will receive compensation for accumulated sick leave he had earned over the years of his employment with the town.
• During the time frame Jan 1. to April 22, Mr. Martin will continue to receive all benefits he’s entitled to under his contract with the town.
• Total compensated sick leave time (for the period Jan. 1- April 21) under the settlement agreement is pegged at $15,212.
• When back pay (Dec.1-Dec. 31) is combined with compensated sick time from Jan. 1 to the “retirement date” of April 22, Mr. Martin will receive $19,396 from the town, on the payroll date of Feb. 6.
• For all other benefits, wages, and compensation, Mr. Martin will be paid the lump sum of $35,375 on the first pay date following his retirement date of April 22. This includes:
- Sick leave compensation of $19,016
- Net comp time of $6,186
- Vacation time of $9,793
- Personal days of $380
• Both sides to the settlement agreement agree not to pursue any legal or other claims against each other, and to dismiss any they do have that are pending.
This includes lawsuits, labor claims, unemployment insurance claims, and grievances under the contract the town has with Rhode Island Council 94, A.F.S.C.M.E. (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), Local 2670A.
After the town took disciplinary action against him, Mr. Martin is believed to have filed one or more grievances under the union contract, but this could not be confirmed. Mr. Martin has been President of AFSCME, Local 2670A, a title he will probably not be able to continue to hold.
Mr. Martin also filed for unemployment insurance, which claim was denied and which he now cannot appeal, according to the settlement.
• Mr. Martin will keep his pension. Under the settlement, the town agrees not to contest Mr. Martin’s retirement pension “under the honorable service doctrine or for any other cause.” Mr. Martin started working for the town on Jan. 4, 1988.
• The town also agrees “not to bring and/or pursue any prosecution through the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, nor shall the town bring independent misdemeanor charges against Mr. Martin with regard to allegations of conducting personal business on town time, utilizing the Town’s computer for personal and inappropriate purposes, using the Town’s trailer to haul personal property, including waste and furniture at the Town’s landfill without paying the required fees, all limited to the timeframe prior to the execution of this agreement.”
• The agreement says Mr. Martin denies “any and all” allegations of wrongdoing.
• There are numerous other laws that the parties say they will not pursue against the other, such as those relating to age discrimination, the civil rights act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, older workers benefits acts, and retirement income acts.
• The agreement says that the “parties will treat this settlement agreement as confidential and will not publicly disclose, nor privately discuss, the terms of this agreement, except to say the retirement of Mr. Martin has been mutually agreed to (or similar words to that effect.)”
Origins of the dispute
The allegations about Mr. Martin were originally aired at the end of October over local Providence television station WJAR, which broadcast televised clips purporting to show the alleged misconduct.
In addition to suspending Mr. Martin from his employment, the town also on Nov. 4 asked the State Police to conduct an investigation into the possible criminal nature of Mr. Martin’s actions.
On Dec. 30, State Police Detective Commander Major Todd Catlow said the investigation into possible criminal conduct was closed about two weeks previously, and that, “there will be no charges” against Mr. Martin. A report from the State Police and the Attorney General is pending but has not yet been publicly disclosesd.