ELLSWORTH — Hancock County will pay County Treasurer Janice Eldridge $19,000 to settle her civil suit against the Hancock County Commissioners.
Eldridge claimed in her suit that the county owed her retroactive payments as part of a health insurance buyout plan.
The board voted unanimously at a Nov. 21 meeting to award Eldridge $19,000.
“I motion we settle as recommended by our counsel,” said Commissioner Bill Clark.
Hancock County Administrator Scott Adkins said the money will come from a reserve account.
Adkins has previously explained the “health insurance buyout” policy.
If a county employee has health insurance coverage through a spouse or some other source, the county will pay the employee a percentage of what the county would have paid to provide the employee with health insurance.
Eldridge has been on Medicare throughout her employment with the county. She did not need to participate in the county plan. The contention of the lawsuit is that she should have received buyout compensation dating back to the start of her employment in 2011.
The complaint was filed in Hancock County in June but had been moved to the United States District Court.
The complaint alleges that Eldridge found out about the “buyout” benefit via happenstance. The county began paying Eldridge the “buyout” effective Jan. 1, 2017. But, the county treasurer alleges she is due monthly “buyout” payments dating back to 2011.
Eldridge had brought the issue to the board at least twice, at meetings on Feb. 7 and Feb. 21, according to meeting minutes. But, the board was divided during those meetings about what course of action to take.
Bangor attorney Charles Gilbert III of Gilbert & Greif represented Eldridge.
Attorney Peter Marchesi of the Waterville law firm Wheeler & Arey represented Hancock County.