, Derry, New Hampshire

August 22, 2013

Town leader put on unpaid leave

Staff reports
Derry News

---- — DERRY — After meeting behind closed doors for more than two hours Tuesday night, the Town Council emerged and voted to continue Town Administrator John Anderson’s administrative leave, but without pay from that date forward.

That vote was unanimous, as was another motion to name Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau the sole spokesman on the matter.

Anderson, 50, was charged last week with indecent exposure and lewd and lascivious behavior, both Class A misdemeanors.

He has been on paid administrative leave since July 12, the day after police allege Anderson made sexual advances toward a DirecTV salesman at his Lane Road home in East Derry.

The Town Council previously named Budreau acting town administrator.

After Anderson was charged, councilors voted unanimously in a non-public meeting Friday to conduct their own inquiry and agreed to keep him on paid leave.

After the meeting Tuesday night, Budreau said that inquiry would “resume” in September.

Anderson came to Derry in 2010 after serving as town manager in Boothbay, Maine, for 10 years. He earns $124,964 a year.

As of Tuesday, he had not yet turned himself in to authorities.

Resident Kevin Coyle, a former town councilor, said Anderson put the town and the councilors in a tough position.

“(Anderson) put himself in a position to get arrested and although he is innocent until proven guilty,” Coyle said, “the town shouldn’t be paying him while he is going through his legal troubles.”

Before the meeting Tuesday, Town Councilor Neil Wetherbee said the latest events have put added stress on the council and community.

“I can really only speak for myself, that it is disheartening personally to be dealing with a lot of what we’ve been dealing with instead of working on trying to move the council forward,” he said.

Wetherbee credited Budreau for doing double duty during a difficult time.

“Larry is doing an extraordinary job,” he said, “all this while being a consummate professional in dealing with an issue that involves someone Larry both worked for, as well as very closely with. I do not envy his position in this.”

Wetherbee said the town doesn’t deserve this kind of publicity.

Town Councilor Mark Osborne said he wants to continue business as usual and serve the town.

“All I can say for the moment is that I, in my capacity as one of seven councilors, am working very hard to balance citizen concerns with proper due process toward Mr. Anderson,” Osborne said.

Town Councilor Tom Cardon said he knows difficult decisions will be coming.

“It’s important to keep in mind that it’s going to take some time before we get to normal,” he said, “and I want people to know that we have a process to go through and to be patient with us. We want to do what is right so the town can put this behind us.”

Coyle said he thought Anderson was “spiraling” for the past six months.

“To the point that I had to have a frank conversation with him in April in hopes of avoiding embarrassment for Derry,” Coyle said. “Clearly, he didn’t heed my advice.”

Anderson could face up to a year in jail if convicted on each of the two misdemeanor charges he faces, Rockingham County Attorney James Reams said.

Coyle called Anderson “another public official embarrassment” for Derry.

“Having lived here for 40 years, I know there have been many,” he said.