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Court to consider severance packages

The newest complaint filed in Nevada’s Eighth District Court by two former employees accuses the city of violating their contracts and state law by not yet paying them their severance packages.

In their second amended complaint, filed Nov. 18, former city attorney Steve Morris and former city manager Al Noyola claim their employment contracts were breached because neither has received the severance packages outlined in them.

They also accused the city of violating Nevada Revised Statute 608.20 that says “whenever an employer discharges an employee, the wages and compensation earned and unpaid at the time of such discharge shall become due and payable immediately.”

Morris and Noyola were fired Oct. 13 “for cause” in a 4-1 vote by City Council. Their contracts stipulate if they leave for any reason other than “voluntarily” resigning, violating a material term of the contract or being convicted of a gross misdemeanor or felony, each will be paid a severance package of nine months of salary paid in a lump sum that also includes 100 percent of the city’s contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System, group insurance benefit, cellular phone and auto allowance, and full amount of any accrued paid time off.

Noyola’s payout would total $234,613.97, and Morris’ payout would be $259,458.15.

“Because Plaintiffs have made the issue of severance the subject of litigation, the city cannot comment on the issue,” said Acting City Attorney Brittany Walker in an email statement. “The city will continue to vigorously defend itself and its elected officials against the claims asserted by Mr. Morris and Mr. Noyola in the second amended complaint.”

Additionally, Morris and Noyola say their employment contracts were breached because they were fired within six months before a City Council election. Both contracts say they cannot be let go six months before or six months after an election.

The next council election is the April 6 primary, less than six months after Oct. 13.

A hearing for this complaint has yet to be set.

These new accusations stem from a complaint filed Aug. 3 by Morris and Noyola. In it, they allege a special meeting scheduled for Aug. 6 to discuss terminating their employment contracts was because they substantiated allegations against Mayor Kiernan McManus, who has been accused by city employees of “religious discrimination, harassment, bullying and creating a hostile work environment.”

On Aug. 25, they filed an amended complaint accusing the mayor and City Council of four open meeting law violations. Those claims were dismissed Nov. 19.

When this complaint was filed, Morris was still city attorney and the City Council hired Bailey Kennedy to represent it. Currently, the city has paid $157,421.63 to the Las Vegas law firm for bills from August, September and October.

Second Amended Complaint by Boulder City Review on Scribd

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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