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City, Uskiewicz case heading to trial

April 7, 2008
Phil Wenzel
The case of a former Alpena city manager who is suing the city over a breech of contract is set to go to trial in May.

Michael Uskiewicz and city officials failed to reach an agreement Monday afternoon when they were set to appear in court for a settlement conference. Circuit Court Judge John Kowalski met with both sides in private, where no progress was made, said Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto.

“(Kowalski) was asking us if we wanted to proceed to a settlement or not and we said ‘no,’” Shafto said.

The court hearing was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. but was delayed as Kowalski kept asking to meet with the parties privately. At about 1:50 court opened session and he announced that neither side wanted to make a “reasonable settlement offer.”

Uskiewicz and his lawyer left the courtroom shortly after the private meetings ended. Current Alpena City Manager Thad Taylor declined to comment on the case later Monday afternoon.

Uskiewicz was hired in February 2006 and resigned the following December, citing a difference in management philosophy as the reason. His lawsuit stems from a dispute over severance agreement that included payment of unused sick time. City officials have said the inclusion of that clause was a clerical error and Uskiewicz did not sign and return an updated agreement that was sent to him.

The lawsuit states Uskiewicz was damaged by the breach in the amount of $36,152, which stems from 940 hours of unused sick time plus 77 hours of unused vacation and personal time.

The trial is scheduled to run May 13-15, although Shafto said she did not think it would take all three days. She said she was optimistic about the the city’s chances to prevail.

Phil Wenzel can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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