Fired town manager can appeal to high court
The Associated Press | September 19,2013
ST. JOHNSBURY — A judge has cleared the way for a former St. Johnsbury town manager who was fired to appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court to try to get his job back.
Judge Mary Miles Teachout’s ruling this week allows Ralph Nelson to seek an appeal of Teachout’s decisions on some aspects of his lawsuit against the town.
Nelson was town manager for 19 months before he was fired in April 2012. In his lawsuit, he alleged his constitutional rights to due process were violated and that he was wrongfully dismissed.
Teachout’s previous ruling that Nelson was an “at will” employee and eligible to be fired at any time for any reason is at issue, the Caledonian Record reported. The judge was interpreting a state statute governing town managers that has no previous case law.
Nelson’s lawyer has argued that the issues addressed in the lawsuit are relevant to towns and town managers statewide.
Teachout appeared to agree.
“An important issue can be advanced towards resolution by appeal,” she wrote Monday as one of her reasons for approving Nelson’s motion.
According to earlier news reports, the town issued a statement at the time of the firing saying Nelson had acted against the will of the Select Board and then didn’t admit to it.