To avoid a lawsuit, Saco will pay former Police Chief Raynald Demers $116,000 and continue to pay for his health coverage for four years.
David Webbert, a labor attorney with Johnson Webbert & Young, who has been president of the Maine Employment Lawyers Association since 1994, said he believes the settlement is generous, but precisely how good a deal is hard to assess without more information.
Webbert was not involved in Demers’ case and could not comment on what precise factors may have played a part. But he said that the consideration for continued health insurance is a signal that the deal was favorable to Demers, possibly because the city recognized his service, or Demers held some legal leverage, or some other combination of factors.
“That’s not an automatic that you’d get that (health care),” Webbert said. “It’s something that would reflect either some exemplary performance or some legal leverage, or something mutually beneficial.”
For Demers, who is 58, Webbert said any continued health-care benefit could be considered a windfall beyond its pure dollar value. People between the ages of 55 and 65 do not yet have access to government-funded Medicare benefits, but it’s a time in life when many people begin to need more health coverage. For those without adequate insurance, health costs can be a catastrophic financial burden.
“I would say this is somewhat on the generous side,” said Webbert. “I can’t really analyze whether it’s a good deal for Saco or a good deal for the employee without knowing all of the facts and issues.”