EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 12, 2013

Derry council takes no action against Anderson

Councilors, Anderson, lawyers met behind closed doors

By Doug Ireland

---- — DERRY — Town councilors met with suspended Town Administrator John Anderson and his lawyer for nearly two hours last night, but took no action.

It was the first meeting between the council and Anderson since his arrest last month on indecent exposure and lewdness charges.

When the council voted to enter nonpublic session shortly after 6:30 p.m., Anderson and attorney Cornelius Sullivan were nowhere to be seen.

But acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau confirmed after the session ended that Anderson and Sullivan were at the closed-door meeting, along with the town’s attorney, Thomas Closson.

Budreau declined to say why Anderson and Sullivan, who slipped in and out of the Municipal Center virtually unnoticed, were not in the council meeting room. Neither could be reached for comment after the meeting. Budreau was previously selected by the council to be the only person who could comment on Anderson’s situation.

When the council emerged from the nonpublic session at 8:19 p.m., Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks offered few details.

“No action has been taken,” Fairbanks announced. “The minutes have been sealed.”

The council proceeded to vote to enter its second nonpublic session of the evening. Budreau refused to comment until after the council’s second session. That session, which focused on a real estate matter, lasted half an hour.

Budreau would only say that Anderson was ready to return and the council’s decision to either keep or terminate him would be likely made sometime this month.

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

He also said 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. Otherwise, he does not receive that 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.

Anderson, 50, has been on administrative leave since July 12, one day after an alleged incident at his Lane Road home involving a DirecTV 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.

Initially, he was 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.