By Katina Caraganis
SHIRLEY — Selectmen on Friday morning accepted the resignation of Chief Administrative Officer David Berry, effective March 31.
Selectmen Dave Swain and Kendra Dumont emerged from an executive session to say they had voted to accept Berry’s resignation. Andy Deveau, who was on the board and supported Berry, has resigned from the board and his spot has not been filled.
Selectmen asked Berry in January to resign, but when he told selectmen he would not, they began to draw up charges to fire him. Berry had a “just cause” clause in his contract that the town could execute if they deemed Berry was not measuring up.
Berry was placed on administrative leave by selectmen earlier this year, and he will use the remainder of his vacation time between now and the date his resignation becomes effective.
He was hired in 2010 to replace interim Town Administrator Ron Marchetti, who was filling in for the town after the arrest and firing of Kyle Keady.
Keady was arrested on a slew of wiretapping and other charges.
Swain previously said he felt that because Berry had not been an effective manager, he and the other members of the board had enough reason to execute the clause.
“You’re never happy when you have to accept someone’s resignation, but that’s how this played out,” Swain said after Friday’s meeting. “We’re going to stay status quo for now, and when someone else is seated on this board, we’ll decide our next steps.”
That next step, Swain said, could be working with the Massachusetts Municipal Association to hire an interim administrator.
Dumont said she did not sign on to Berry’s contract because she could not support spending $90,000 on Berry’s salary, and she’s happy at this outcome.
“We’re happy to have come to an amicable resolution,” she said. “I’m glad that Dave (Berry) could admit this was not the best option for the town anymore.”
Swain, who did vote for Berry to be hired, said that situations like this are never easy, but it’s what had to be done.
“I don’t regret the decision. I thought we’d be getting more from him than we actually got in the end,” he said.
Berry attended Friday morning’s executive session but left before the meeting was adjourned. Messages left at his Lexington home were not returned Friday.
Selectmen did not convene the meeting in open session before going into executive session, as is required by the Open Meeting Law. They also did not announce the reason for the executive session before they went behind closed doors, although their posted notice of the meeting stated they would be going into executive session under Section 21 (1) — which includes discussion of a dismissal of an employee.
Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @kcaraganis.