Former school employee wins $100K settlementBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | May 06,2013Sharon Stearns is getting $100,000 and an apology in the settlement of her lawsuit against the Addison Central Supervisory Union.
Stearns, who lives in Brandon and was business manager at the district for nine years, had sued her former employer in Rutland civil court for breach of contract, retaliation and bad faith conduct. The district includes Bridport, Cornwall, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham, Weybridge and Middlebury.
According to a release put out by her attorneys, Stearns was placed on administrative leave after questioning the practices of then-superintendent Lee Sease.
“The apology was highly important to her,” attorney Norman Watts said Thursday. “They ran her through a nightmarish mill before she left.”
Stearns went to the union school board in late 2010, according to the settlement, with concerns about Sease not mailing annual reports according to the law and not properly paying overtime to hourly staff. Sease placed Stearns on administrative leave, according to her lawyers.
A letter written as part of the settlement and signed by Superintendent Gail Conley says the board chose not to renew Sease’s contract and invited Stearns to return to work, but Stearns resigned her position.
“On behalf of the board of ACSU, I can relate that there are substantial regrets about the previous Superintendent’s leadership void in our ACSU central office during Sharon’s tenure,” Conley wrote. “This leadership void created a negative impact on the central office personnel including Sharon.”
Watts said Stearns has recently completed a master’s degree in public accounting and is about to start a new career as a CPA.
Watts said the settlement was reached after a mediation session that ran until 10:30 p.m. and the letter from Conley was a key part of the agreement.
“That side of it, vindication for her blowing the whistle on inappropriate and possibly illegal activities, that’s important to her,” Watts said.
Conley did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.
@rutlandherald.comMORE IN This Just InTOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Josh O'Gorman reports on the impact of state budget cuts on state colleges, Rutland Town welcomes Donna Zeller as town clerk, Bryanna Allen in Killington for chili cookoff and Haley talks up big Shrine game with N.H. and Vt. 0Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Full StoryWHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Royalton man denied charges that he pointed a gun at a woman and her... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: osh O'Gorman reports on the impact of state budget cuts on state colleges, Rutland Town welcomes Donna Zeller as town clerk, Bryanna Allen in Killington for chili cookoff and Haley talks up the big Shrine game with N.H. and Vt.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Teddy Roosevelt makes Americans believe the poor, peace-loving, misunderstood piranha is a vicious, dangerous animal.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears on this day in 1975, on this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Type I, the Beetle, rolls off the assembly line in Mexico, Ambrose Bierce on the classifications of homicide.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Seals have figured out fish they like to eat gather in schools around turbines in offshore wind farms. But the environment is not without hazards, maintenance vessels and noise pollution.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Yankee announces final day of nuclear power generation in Vermont, storm brings floods back to Chester, Castleton town manager to resign office, chronic offender sentenced to 25 years for sexual assault.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Archaeologists find a leather shoe in a cave in Armenia that predates the Pyramids by more than a thousand years.