Former county employee reaches settlement

Freeborn Co. Dept. of Human Services

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — A former Freeborn County employee claims she was wrongfully terminated nearly three years ago, and now she has reached a settlement out of court with the county.

Rose Olmsted worked for the county for nearly 40 years. When the 20-day government shutdown took place in 2011 she was one of eleven employees out of work.

The problem began when she was the only one who was not asked to come back once the shutdown ended. That is why she claimed she was wrongfully terminated.

“Both parties decided to try mediation before going to court and so in February there was a mediation session held,” said Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever.

The outcome was a settlement also approved by the county board. Olmsted would receive $40,000, $25,000 coming from the county and the rest would be covered by the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust.

“They’re our insurance company, very simply, for everything from property to liabilities and so forth and so they’re always at the table during one of these, literally, a representative was there because she also had to approve the settlement,” Kluever said.

Money was not the only part of this. The county will also establish the “Rose Olmsted Advocacy Award.”

“We found out that Rose was not always interested in a monetary settlement, but a non-monetary award. She was here for 38 years and Rose felt it necessary a need to have that recognition forever, if you will, on an annual basis,” Kluever said.

He said nothing is final yet, but there will likely be a group of six people plus Olmsted to decide the award each year. Those six people may represent six different areas like law enforcement or the community, etc.

Kluever also said that Olmsted will receive $24,000 of the settlement. Her lawyers will get the rest.

We reached out to Olmsted and her lawyers but have not heard back yet.

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