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      Marquette's seven year legal battle ends

      The city of Marquette will have to pay more than $82,000 to settle a legal dispute with former City Manager Gerry Peterson.

      In 2005 Peterson left his position amid controversy, and one year later the city of Marquette stripped Peterson of his retiree health insurance benefits.

      Peterson took the matter to an appeals court and won. After a closed session Monday, Marquette's City Commission agreed to settle.

      Peterson will be reinstated to the health insurance plan. The city will also pay him $82,500 from the city's general fund to make up for his out of pocket expenses after he was stripped of his health insurance.

      "It's been seven years we've been battling. This is the last chapter from this whole mess with the recall and the firing and the lawsuits," said Marquette Mayor John Kivela. "You know this is the last one and we're done; it's been seven years of cleaning up after Mr. Peterson."

      Prior to the closed session, current City Manager Bill Vajda received his annual review. Commissioners all agreed that Vajda has done an exemplary job and voted to give him a two percent pay increase.