EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 16, 2013

Derry council votes to say goodbye to Anderson

Derry council votes, 6-1, not to renew contract

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — DERRY — The Town Council voted, 6-1, last night not to renew the contract of suspended Town Administrator John Anderson.

The move to terminate Anderson “without cause” came after councilors met in closed session for an hour and a half to discuss Anderson’s employment and other nonpublic issues.

Anderson, 50, has been on administrative leave since July 12, a day after an alleged incident at his Lane Road home involving a satellite TV salesman. He was arrested in August on single counts each of indecent exposure and lewdness.

Anderson exposed himself to the salesman, asked him to take off his clothes and then masturbated in front of him, according to a police affidavit.

In its decision, the council voted to place Anderson on paid administrative leave from Oct. 14 to Oct. 25 — the day his three-year contract with the town ends. Mark Osborne was the only councilor to vote in opposition.

Anderson was initially on paid leave, then placed on unpaid leave by the council following a unanimous vote Aug. 20. He surrendered to authorities Aug. 28, almost two weeks after an arrest warrant was issued by state police.

The council last night also authorized acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau to terminate Anderson’s employment as of Oct. 26, pending receipt of a signed separation agreement from Anderson.

When announcing the council’s decision, Chairman Michael Fairbanks said Budreau was the only person authorized to comment on Anderson’s employment with the town.

But Budreau was tight-lipped following the conclusion of the council’s half-hour regular meeting and collective bargaining workshop.

Budreau handed reporters a copy of the council’s approved motion and said he could not say anything beyond what was in the motion.

“The council took this action tonight — no further comment,” he said.

Councilors would not comment on Anderson, including Osborne. He referred all questions to Budreau when asked by a reporter why he voted against terminating Anderson’s employment.

Budreau did say that Anderson and his attorney, James Rosenberg, were not present for the council’s nonpublic meeting last night with the town’s lawyer, Thomas Closson.

He also said discussion of finding a replacement for Anderson will begin when the council meets next month.

“The council will pick up that matter of business in their meetings in November,” he said.

Budreau, who has been filling in for Anderson for three months, would not say if he is interested in the permanent position. He also would not disclose how much money Anderson is owed by the town.

Anderson, who waived his arraignment Friday in 10th Circuit Court, could not be reached for comment at his home last night. He remains free on $2,000 personal recognizance. His trial has not been scheduled.

If Anderson was fired for “cause before his contract expired, he would be entitled to six months of severance pay.

“Cause” includes being convicted of a felony and gross negligence in carrying out his employment obligations. Anderson, town administrator since 2010, earns $124,962 a year. He was previously the town administrator in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

The two counts against Anderson are both misdemeanors, each punishable by up to a year in the county jail if convicted.