The town of Easton will pay its suspended town administrator, David Colton, approximately $325,000 to leave and not sue to keep the job he’s held since 2006, a town official said Wednesday.
The “mutually acceptable agreement” between the town’s Board of Selectmen and Colton also allows him to vest his pension fully. Colton had planned to retire when his contract expires on June 30, 2018.
The money — the bulk of which will be paid by the town’s insurance company — includes Colton’s $170,000 annual salary through the end of his contract and a $75,000 payment, according to Selectman Daniel Murphy, who said he reluctantly agreed to the terms.
“I think this is a really terrible deal for the town, in that we are paying an employee who did a great job for 10 years, not to work,” Murphy said. “However, given the path the majority [of selectmen] started us down, the risk of liability exposure [from a lawsuit] is so great that we had to agree to it.”
A three-person majority of the five-member Board of Selectmen suspended Colton with pay in mid-January and started proceedings to fire him for failing to supervise the town clerk — who was dismissed by Colton after failing to submit bylaws for state approval for years and then lying about it.
The board majority said Colton should lose his job for “complete and systemic failure to exercise any reasonable degree of supervision of a department head he hired and who operated under his authority, exposing the town to potential liability and putting the status of years’ worth of development in doubt.”
Murphy and Selectwoman Dottie Fulginiti supported Colton.
Colton hired a lawyer and had planned to fight his dismissal. On Wednesday, he would not comment on the severance agreement.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at email@example.com.