EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 2, 2013

Anderson's future with Derry remains uncertain

No action taken on town administrator

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — DERRY — Town Administrator John Anderson’s future with the town remains uncertain as councilors continue to ponder his fate.

The Town Council met with their attorney, Thomas Closson, behind closed doors for an hour and a half last night before going into public session at 7:30 p.m. and not taking any action on the matter.

Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau, selected by the council as the only person who can speak on Anderson’s situation, said he could not comment on the subject of the nonpublic session.

He would not confirm if Anderson’s future was discussed. He said no announcements on the matter would be made last night. Town Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks would only say that minutes of the closed-door meeting would be sealed.

Before entering nonpublic session, Councilor Mark Osborne announced they were meeting about “matters, which if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting.”

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

The salesman told Derry police Anderson made unwanted sexual advances toward him during a sales call. 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.

Budreau had said previously he expected a decision on Anderson’s employment with the town to be made by Sept. 30. Last night, he said the council’s inquiry was taking longer than expected. Councilors have said they will not comment on Anderson’s status.

“The council’s inquiry is taking longer than I anticipated,” Budreau said.

No one from the public showed up until after the council’s regular meeting began. Eight people were present.

The nonpublic session last night came three weeks after councilors met with Anderson and his attorney, Cornelius Sullivan, for nearly two hours behind closed doors Sept. 11 without taking any action.

It was the first meeting between the council and Anderson since his arrest. Anderson and his lawyer slipped in and out of the Municipal Center virtually unnoticed, without entering the council meeting room. Neither could be reached for comment after the meeting that night.

Anderson could not be reached for comment at his home last night.

Budreau would only say at the meeting Sept. 11 that Anderson was ready to return and the council’s decision to keep or terminate him would be likely made by month’s end.

“He is eager to come back,” Budreau said last month.

Budreau also said at the time that Anderson’s employment and criminal case were separate issues.

Anderson’s three-year contract ends Oct. 25. If he is fired “for cause” before then, he is entitled to six months of severance pay, according to his contract. He does not receive that pay otherwise.

“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.

Anderson was initially on paid leave, then placed on unpaid leave by the Town Council following a unanimous vote Aug. 20.

Anderson surrendered to authorities Aug. 28, nearly two weeks after an arrest warrant was issued by state police. He was released on $2,000 personal recognizance and is to be arraigned Oct. 11 in 10th Circuit Court in Derry.