BAR HARBOR — Police Chief Nate Young is the only town department head that does not have a severance clause in his contract. That means that if town manager Dana Reed were to make the decision to remove him from his job, things could get “real complicated,” Reed said in an interview last week.
Without speaking of Young’s case specifically, Reed said that the severance clause usually written into department head contracts provides a safety mechanism that basically protects both parties should the relationship between employee and employer sour. It also further protects the town by removing the right of the employee to go to court if they think they were fired unjustly.
Without a severance clause, however, a municipal employee who is removed from his or her job could not only appeal the decision within town government, but also up through the court system, which Reed said could result in years of legal costs and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of back pay and penalties, should the employee win the case.