EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 21, 2013

Administrator now on unpaid leave

Derry council conducts its own inquiry

By Alex Lippa

---- — DERRY — After a two-hour, nonpublic meeting last night, the Town Council voted unanimously to stop paying Town Administrator John Anderson after he was charged with indecent exposure and lewdness last week.

The council called for the special nonpublic session on Friday, after an arrest warrant was issued for Anderson, 50, after police said he made unwanted sexual advances toward a DirecTV salesman at his home.

Once again, the council voted to make Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau the only spokesman on last night’s decision.

Budreau said the unpaid leave would last until the Town Council finishes its own inquiry into the matter. He said the inquiry would resume in early September.

He would not elaborate on how the council came to last night’s decision. He also would not say whether councilors discussed firing Anderson.

Anderson had been on paid administrative leave since July 12, one day after a complaint was filed with Derry police about the incident that allegedly occurred a day earlier.

The complaint was investigated by the N.H. State Police. They completed their investigation Aug. 2 and handed it over to Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams.

Reams opted to charge Anderson with the two misdemeanors.

An arrest warrant was issued on Friday for Anderson, but he has still not turned himself in.

Budreau said he has spoken to Anderson since Friday, but would not elaborate. Anderson has not returned repeated phone messages seeking comment.

Prior to the nonpublic session yesterday, Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores lobbied for the discussion to be held in public.

“I know this is a personnel matter, but the public has a right to know what’s going on,” she said. “I don’t think things going on have to be secret. Going to nonpublic all the time is an injustice to the publi. They have a right to know what’s going on.”

Katsakiores was the only councilor to vote against moving into nonpublic session. The session could be nonpublic under RSA 91-A:3, which says that the dismissal, promotion, or compensation of any public employee or the disciplining of the employee may be nonpublic unless the employee requests it to be public.

The warrant for Anderson was issued after he allegedly waved the salesman into his home. Upon entering the home, the salesman discovered Anderson was nude. Anderson then asked the salesman to remove his clothes and started masturbating in front of him, according to a police affidavit.

On Monday, Budreau said the town has the right to fire Anderson under the town charter. If he is fired between now and Oct. 26, he would be entitled to six months of severance pay unless he is fired for “cause.” Cause includes being convicted of a felony or gross negligence in carrying out his employment obligations, according to the charter.

Both of Anderson’s charges are Class A misdemeanors.

Anderson earns $124,962 a year. He came to Derry in 2010 after serving as town manager in Boothbay, Maine, for 10 years.

Budreau said that he had spoken to Anderson since Friday, but wouldn’t say how many times or the nature of the discussion.