Former Westbrook Fire Chief Daniel Brock will be paid $320,000 if the City Council approves a settlement agreement reached earlier this month between city officials and Brock, who claimed he was wrongfully terminated.

The city’s insurance company would cover $210,000 of the payment, and taxpayers would pay the remaining $110,000.

Details of the proposed settlement were made public Friday as part of a packet of materials sent to city councilors in advance of their meeting Monday, when they’ll take an initial vote on the agreement.

“Another bitter pill to swallow, another tough chapter in the fire department’s legacy in Westbrook,” City Councilor John O’Hara said Friday. “The quicker we move on, the better off we’ll be.”

Brock, 63, sued the city and Mayor Colleen Hilton last year, after Hilton announced during her inauguration that she wasn’t reappointing Brock as fire chief, a position he had held for a year.

The fire chief is among several department heads that the city charter says are subject to annual appointment by the mayor. But another provision in the charter says the fire chief is entitled to employment until death, retirement or removal for cause.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby ruled in May that the Westbrook fire chief is not subject to annual appointment. At the same time, Hornby dismissed the wrongful termination case against Hilton because she acted on legal advice that she could choose not to reappoint Brock.

Brock said he would drop his lawsuit against the city for the equivalent of four years’ salary and benefits, which would have been about $330,000.

City Administrator Jerre Bryant said the figure reached in the agreement reflects the cost of Brock’s legal fees, as well as lost wages and benefits.

“This was a compromise between what we thought was reasonable and what he was asking for,” Bryant said.

Brock’s attorney, Barbara Goodwin, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Brock, a former Kennebunkport fire chief, was hired by Westbrook in January 2009 after allegations of sexual harassment in the department led to the punishment of seven firefighters and the retirement of longtime chief Gary Littlefield.

The two female firefighters who lodged those complaints, and later filed lawsuits, reached settlements with the city last September for a total of $846,000.

After Brock’s dismissal, Hilton hired Michael Pardue, a management consultant and former Ogunquit police chief, to lead the long-troubled fire department through a turnaround.

After the retirement of Police Chief Bill Baker, Hilton announced she was consolidating the police and fire chiefs’ jobs into a director of public safety. She appointed Pardue to that position in May.

“Hopefully, this will close the door on our problems over at our fire department and (we can) get back to having the dedicated force we’ve had in this community for a long time,” Councilor O’Hara said about settling the latest lawsuit. He said he probably will support the agreement, which was in the cost range that city officials had discussed previously.

Council President Brendan Rielly said he would need the weekend to think it over.

“I think the whole situation is unfortunate,” Rielly said. “Obviously, I don’t like the idea of paying out any more money on claims.”

The City Council meeting Monday starts at 7 p.m. in Westbrook High School. If the council supports the agreement, it will take a second and final vote on the settlement at a meeting later in August.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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