A federal judge ruled today that the city of Neosho has to pay for 12 months of health insurance for fired City Manager Jan Blase, but does not have to give him severance pay.
The order, handed down by Judge John T. Maughmer in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, says the city's employment agreement with Blase specifies the health insurance benefits must be paid for Blase if he is terminated, but does not say anything about "for cause," while Blase is specifically barred from receiving severance pay if he was terminated "for cause."
Blase was fired in February 2010 for the following three reasons, listed in a resolution issued by the City Council the previous month:
(1) had committed malfeasance in taking funds that had been received by Neosho for the dedicated purpose of aircraft hangar construction and instead using such funds to pay general city
obligations and payroll;
(2) had failed to adequately communicate with the City Council; and
(3) had failed to notify the City Council that revenues available to the city would be insufficient to meet the amount budgeted.
Blase's agreement with the city, signed in 2007, one year after he became city manager, said he would receive nine months of pay if he was fired without cause.
The judge's order made no mention of the mold spores that Blase blamed for some of his actions when they came to light in 2009 and early 2010.