Settlement allows former Port Allen official to return to work

Former payroll clerk Robin Ackerman returned to work at City Hall last week as part of the settlement in the lawsuit she filed against the city under the administration of former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter, officials said in a news release Monday.

According to the settlement, Ackerman returned to work Friday and was reinstated as head payroll clerk and named the city’s human resources director.

Ackerman will receive the same salary of $45,390 annually and benefits, along with the accrued sick leave she earned prior to her resignation, the release states.

Ackerman, an 18-year veteran with the city, quit her job without giving two-weeks notice in August alleging she could no longer work for Slaughter.

Ackerman said previously the former mayor had created a hostile work environment after Ackerman testified as a witness against Slaughter in a lawsuit three city councilmen filed against Slaughter last year.

The council members’ lawsuit had identified Ackerman as the city employee Slaughter ordered to pay her at a rate of $84,960 a year despite the fact that the City Council had already set the mayor’s salary at $65,000 annually when it adopted its 2012-13 budget.

Slaughter was ousted from office in November following a successful recall effort.

Ackerman was one of several longtime city employees who abruptly quit while Slaughter was in office.

Shortly after resigning, Ackerman filed a lawsuit in the 18th Judicial District Court demanding she be paid more than $7,000 in accrued vacation time she claimed the city owed her.

The city will pay Ackerman portions of her retirement contributions from her resignation date through December, plus court costs and attorney’s fees associated with her lawsuit, the settlement said.

“We are happy to have this chapter of our recent history closed,” interim Mayor Lynn Robertson said in a prepared statement Monday. “We are moving forward with beginning a new era of building community and trust in Port Allen, and are optimistic about the future of our city.”