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Judge says Neosho owes former city manager health insurance - KOAM TV 7

Judge says Neosho owes former city manager health insurance

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A federal judge makes a ruling in the last case between Neosho, Missouri and the city's former city manager.

In 2009, city officials say the situation was dire.  According to Neosho's current mayor, then city manager Jan Blase didn't communicate with council members.  Sales tax income was down and projects were over budget.

"Basically, one day I went down to the city clerk's office and demanded to see the bank records, ran the numbers myself and realized we had $2,000 or $3,000 worth of dollars in the bank as a city," says Mayor Richard Davidson.

Blase was fired from his position in February of 2010.  Blase was quoted as saying mold spores growing in city hall affected his decision management.

Later in 2010 Blase plead guilty to a Class A Misdemeanor for illegally transferring earmarked city funds to other city accounts.

But Blase contended he should've received severance pay and health insurance for one year.

Today, a federal judge ruled in favor of Blase receiving health insurance, but against him getting severance.  Today's court ruling made no reference to the mold claim.

The judge said Neosho's employment contract required a termination without cause to receive severance.  But the city's contract did not require a reason of termination to still receive health insurance after being fired.

Neosho's current mayor believes the city can pay the health insurance Blase is now due.

"If it's going to be a few thousand dollars in healthcare costs to make this problem finally go away and put an end, once and for all, to the discussions of Jan Blase and the city of Neosho, then so be it," says Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson.  "It's been three years since we discovered the financial mismanagement, and financial disaster that it caused.  It's nice to know that we're coming to the end of the Jan Blase era and getting this into the past and moving forward."

Mayor Davidson is considering making Neosho's employment contract more strict.

"Somebody that does that, shouldn't be entitled to anything in my view," Mayor Davidson says.

Blase's attorney told us in a phone interview that he thought the judge's decision was "thoughtful" and had reason.

Blase is now living near Branson working for an organization that helps troubled teens.

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