By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — DERRY — A citizen is alleging something happened at Town Administrator John Anderson’s home last Thursday night that led him to file a complaint with police.
Anderson was placed on paid leave late Friday pending an investigation into the complaint by New Hampshire State Police.
“We’ve been tasked with tasked with conducting an investigation into some allegations against Mr. Anderson,” N.H. State Police Capt. David Parenteau said yesterday. “A complaint was made by a citizen involving a contact he had with a person believed to be Mr. Anderson on Thursday evening, July 11, at Mr. Anderson’s home.”
Parenteau said the complainant is an adult and he went to Derry police with his complaint.
“Derry PD contacted us,” Parenteau said, adding that was not unusual. “I’m sure they would do an unbiased investigation, but it’s often best to defer to another agency when it involves someone in a high level of management — a selectmen, councilman, town administrator.”
He said such a move is common when an investigation focuses on a town official.
“Derry police Chief (Edward Garone) determined that he would have the appearance of a conflict of interest because he is subordinate to the town administrator,” Budreau said.
Parenteau is the commander of the state police Investigative Services Section.
“We’re looking at it to see if there is a violation of law, hence the investigation,” he said. “We’re investigating the complaint at this time. At this point, we can’t release any further information regarding the substance of the complaint.
The Town Council met for less than an hour in an emergency, nonpublic session late Friday afternoon. They emerged and announced Anderson had been put on leave, that Larry Budreau, the town’s human resources director and assistant town administrator had been named acting town administrator and that Budreau would be the only one speaking for the town on the issue.
Anderson, 50, was not at that meeting and had worked only part of the day Friday, Budreau said.
Anderson has not returned phone messages seeking comment.
He’s been Derry’s town administrator since October 2010, when he was chosen from a field of 121 candidates. He came here after a 10-year stint as town manager in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Anderson was hired at just over $100,000 a year, but now earns an annual salary of $124,962.
Budreau hasn’t had much to say about the situation, citing the ongoing police investigation. But he has emphasized the complaint does not involve town business— other than the fact Anderson is the town’s top official.
The paid administrative leave is open-ended, according to Budreau, pending the outcome of the police investigation.
“His status will change only after the state police investigation is complete and the Town Council has the opportunity to evaluate the information and make a decision,” Budreau said Tuesday.
He said the town would have no further comments on the allegations against Anderson.
“This is in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and Mr. Anderson’s rights as a citizen,” Budreau said.
Parenteau said yesterday he did not think it would be a lengthy investigation.
“We’re interviewing the complainant and any witnesses who may have observed any contact,” he said. “We’re very methodical and we want to make sure all the proper parties are consulted, interviewed and that we ensure we’ve covered all the bases.”