, Derry, New Hampshire

September 19, 2013

Town councilors take no action on administrator

Derry News

---- — DERRY — Town councilors are expected to wrap up their own inquiry into Town Administrator John Anderson sometime this month and could make a decision on whether to keep the suspended administrator on the job.

But after another closed-door meeting last week, councilors took no action.

The meeting Sept. 11 was the first time councilors met with Anderson since his arrest last month on indecent exposure and lewdness charges.

Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau confirmed after the meeting last week that Anderson and his attorney Cornelius Sullivan were in attendance. Town attorney Thomas Closson was also at the meeting.

Budreau said it’s obvious that once the council’s inquiry is complete, Anderson will either return to his job or he won’t.

Councilors selected Budreau as the only person who can officially comment on Anderson’s case.

Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks offered few details after last week’s meeting.

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

Other councilors are not commenting on Anderson’s situation.

Budreau did say last week that Anderson was ready to return.

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

Sullivan said earlier that his client wanted to return to work.

“Mr. Anderson has been a valued employee and worked hard on behalf of and with the Town Council to formulate balanced budgets during the past recession and to bring town construction projects in on time and under budget,” he said. “Mr. Anderson stands ready to return to work as soon as the Town Council permits him to do so.”

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.

“Cause” includes being convicted of a felony and gross negligence in carrying out his employment obligations.

Kevin Coyle, a former councilor and now a county commissioner, said it may be time for the town to cut its ties with Anderson.

“He (Anderson) cannot come back to work as Derry’s town administrator as he would be wholly ineffectual,” Coyle said. “I know that the councilors and staff are frustrated by this situation. It is time to move on.”

Coyle said the council is doing the best it can with the situation.

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.

He was put on paid leave, then councilors voted unanimously on Aug. 20 to place him on unpaid leave.

Anderson has been town administrator since 2010 and earns $124,962 a year.

He 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.