Council Gives Thumbs Up to Perry Resignation

John Perry

BLYTHEWOOD – Following a half-hour executive session in a special called Town Council meeting on Monday night, the full Town Council voted unanimously and by roll call to “accept John Perry’s resignation as Blythewood Town Administrator . . . and approve the severance agreement and authorize the Mayor to execute the [severance] agreement with the actions that are in the best interest of the Town.”

Town Attorney Jim Meggs, a member of the law firm of Callison, Tighe and Robinson, said prior to the motion to accept Perry’s resignation, that Perry had already executed the severance agreement. Another Callison, Tighe and Robinson attorney, who specializes in labor and employment law, was present in the executive session along with Meggs, Mayor J. Michael Ross and councilmen Roger Hovis, Tom Utroska, Bob Massa and Bob Mangone. Since the issue arose over Perry’s employment termination, the Mayor and Council members have said they were advised by Meggs to not make any comments on the record concerning the matter.

On Tuesday, the morning following the meeting, without alluding to the conflict between the Town Hall and Perry that was reported to The Voice by sources last week, Ross told the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce at its regular monthly breakfast meeting that Perry had resigned, effective Dec. 29, and “we accepted his resignation last night. We’ll be looking for an interim [administrator], then we’ll form a committee and search for someone who will carry Blythewood into the next era,” Ross said. Ross told the group that he wished Perry well.

“If you get a chance, stop in and wish him well,” Ross said.

But following the Chamber meeting, Ross did not answer questions from The Voice specific as to when and if Perry would actually be back at work at the Town Hall before the end of the month. The six-page severance agreement that only provided Perry with salary and benefits through Dec. 29 and no other compensation, was not only the “full and final settlement of any disputes that have arisen between them [Perry and the Town],” but silenced Perry from any disparaging words about Town Hall and its employees and prohibited Perry from bringing any actions or claims against the Town or its employees according to the agreement.

The agreement prohibits Perry from divulging, commenting upon or characterizing any aspects of the terms of the severance agreement. It also prohibits him from making any statements, written or verbal, that defame, disparage or in any way criticize The Town or any of the Released Parties (elected officials, employees, town attorney, etc.) The Town and the Released Parties are, in turn, prohibited from divulging, commenting upon or characterizing any aspects of this agreement with actual or potential future employers of Perry. The agreement also specifies exactly how the Town is limited in what it reveals to Perry’s prospective employers.

Perry signed the agreement on Dec. 5 and the Mayor signed it on Dec. 9. Perry was hired in January 2008 by then Mayor Keith Bailey.

The Voice reported last week that the resignation was forced by the Mayor and Town Council following an ongoing employment-related conflict between Perry and a Town Hall employee, according to sources with direct knowledge of the issue but who were not authorized to comment on the record.

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