Ex-town manager sues Hampstead

Ridgely lawsuit seeks $20,000 to pay for unused vacation days on job

April 29, 1999|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Former Hampstead Town Manager Neil M. Ridgely, who left the post in January after a spate of conflicts with Mayor Christopher M. Nevin, is suing the town for up to $20,000 in unpaid vacation compensation.

Ridgely filed suit this week in Carroll County District Court seeking three times what he is owed for 41 unused vacation days -- $6,702 -- because previous requests for reimbursement were ignored by the mayor, said Robert J. Lynott, Ridgely's attorney.

State law allows plaintiffs to seek triple their unpaid compensation, Lynott said yesterday.

Ridgely declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Nevin said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Ridgely, town manager since 1995, became angry in early January after conflicts with Nevin -- one that allegedly culminated with the mayor taking away Ridgely's check-signing authority for employees' year-end bonuses. Nevin has denied that charge.

Ridgely said he resigned but later changed his mind and asked to rescind his action.

But the Town Council decided not to reconsider his resignation during a closed meeting in mid-January, Nevin said. The council told Ridgely it would consider paying him a severance package -- if he would sign an agreement that would bar him from speaking on town issues and details of the offer, Ridgely said.

Ridgely refused the offer, and Nevin told him to leave immediately.

Before taking the post in Hampstead, a town of 4,200, Ridgely worked about 10 years in local government, including six years as landscape and forest manager for Carroll County. He staged an unsuccessful bid in 1994 as a Democratic candidate for the county's Board of Commissioners.

A conservationist, Ridgely has been outspoken on development issues and often clashed with prominent developer Martin K. P. Hill, most recently over Hill's plans to build a 90-unit condominium project at Roberts Field. Ridgely said the project violated open-space and density regulations.

Pub Date: 4/29/99

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