State

Oakdale owes interest on settlement, too

OAKDALE — A lengthy dispute with a former employee could cost the city more money.

The city owes former administrative secretary Kim Mossman $42,894 as a result of an arbitrator's decision in December.

Oakdale also owes Mossman interest on that award, according to a recent ruling by Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge David VanderWall. The interest on the award is 7 percent, said Mossman's attorney, Christopher W. Miller of Sacramento.

Neal Costanzo, the attorney representing the city, said last week that he needs to talk with city officials about whether they want to appeal the latest ruling. The city appealed the arbitrator's first ruling issued in 2006, but did not prevail.

The city has spent at least $32,000 in legal costs in the dispute, according to its Finance Department.

Mossman was laid off in September 2005 when her job as administrative secretary to the police chief was eliminated. Her union contract said she was entitled to a similar position with the city based on her seniority, Miller said. The city disagreed.

Mossman filed a grievance against the city. In November 2006, an arbitrator ordered Oakdale to compensate Mossman for her losses, Miller said. The second arbitration ruling resulted in the award of nearly $43,000.

Mossman went to work for the city of Riverbank several months after she was laid off.

The $42,894 award includes reimbursement for health insurance costs and the difference between what she has earned at Riverbank versus what she would have earned had she stayed with Oakdale.

VanderWall issued his tentative ruling March 12 awarding Mossman interest. Miller said he will file a final order for the judge to sign this week.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or 578-2316.

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