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City, former employee settle lawsuit

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau's former engineer and the city have settled a civil lawsuit that was scheduled for trial next month.

“The matter settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties,” said city attorney Anne Jacobson. She declined to release further details until an order was filed with the court dismissing the case.

It is not clear when that order will be filed. Attorneys for the city's insurance carrier and Dale Lehman, who is also known as Tony, are working out the final wording of the document.

Lehman's attorney Tom Molinaro was not immediately available for comment.

Lehman had filed the lawsuit last year seeking $1.8 million in lost wages and benefits. He had claimed that the city laid him off in November 2009 in violation of a 2004 settlement agreement.

City officials claim that Lehman and three other employees were permanently laid off for budget reasons. The City Council approved Lehman's layoff when it finalized its 2010 budget.

An exclusive WSAU News investigation completed last fall discovered that Lehman was unavailable for an estimated 500 man hours in 2009 – nearly a quarter of the year – and failed to get along with employees when he was at work.

The investigation, which relied upon internal city documents obtained through multiple open records requests, uncovered GPS records that showed Lehman made unexplained trips in his city vehicle – leaving early, stopping at the grocery store, gas station or at home while working.

Lehman felt he was unfairly treated by city staff, according to internal e-mails and personnel records. He alleged that fellow public works employee Allen Wesolowski made a derogatory remark in late 2005 and remained hostile toward him a year later.

City officials disciplined Wesolowski the first time. But, former public works director Joe Gehin wrote in September 2008 that Lehman had a negative attitude and a year later, Gehin formally warned Lehman after unprofessional comments in an e-mail.

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