Eastport Man Receives Large Payout After Unfair Firing 

An Easport man who says he was fired for e-mailing Governor Baldacci about safety violations at his work has been awarded more than $200,000 by a jury.Richard Hickson, 56, was a security guard at the paper mill in Baileyville when the governor visited nearly seven years ago.Hickson claims Governor Baldacci and a state lawmaker with him didn’t have proper footwear or respirators.Last week, a jury in Washington county agreed that Hickson was wrongly fired for sending a legally-protected whistleblower report.He was employed by Vescom Corporation out of Hampden, which was contracted by Woodland Pulp and Paper to provide security at the Baileyville mill.An attorney for Vescom says they do plan to appeal adding the jury was never allowed to see whether the whistleblower protection act ever applies to an alleged safety violation that the employer neither committed nor practiced. “It was undisputed by Mr. Hickson that he complained about alleged safety violations committed by Domtar and the Governor’s visiting party,” says A.J. Grief, the lawyer representing the security company. “He agreed that Vescom was not involved in those violations other than through Mr. Hickson doing and saying nothing when Representative Perry walked right by him with open-toed shoes.  At best, Mr. Hickson blew the whistle on himself.”