HARRISON — Selectman Edwin Rolfe Jr. failed to get an answer Tuesday
night to his question about how much it would cost to buy out the
contract of Town Manager Brad Plante because the board chairman shut
down the discussion.

“Let’s do it right,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Bill Winslow said.
“Let’s do the evaluation, then we can discuss it on Sept. 1.”  That’s
the date set for the evaluation of the town manager, which will be done
in executive session.

Last month, Rolfe asked fellow board members what the buyout
figures for Plante’s contact would be. Rolfe’s question came near the
end of a July 21 board meeting and on the heels of a question by
Selectman Lisa Villa’s inquiry into the status of Plante’s annual
evaluation.

At that time, the board agreed to bring it up as an agenda item on Aug.
4, but when the item failed to appear on Tuesday night’s agenda, Rolfe
asked for the answer again.

Winslow and Villa said the issue of buyout figures is a subject for
executive session because it involves the town manager’s contract and
performance. Rolfe disagreed. “This has nothing to do with personnel
records,” he said. “All it is is dollars and cents.”

Villa told Rolfe that the question should be brought up during Plante’s
evaluation on Sept. 1 in executive session. “Then we can discuss
whether it’s something we want to get into,” she said, adding that some
things such as personnel records are not public record.

Rolfe, who said he was asking the question on behalf of four
residents, was allowed to read a section of Plante’s contract, dated
April 28, 2008, which refers to termination of the contract.

The contract in part states that the town manager will receive 90
days base salary, health insurance continuation for 90 days and other
items if the contract is terminated in the second or third year without
cause.

Plante, who is paid $55,200 a year under the three-year contract,
told the board he wanted to make it clear that the contractual
obligations and obligations that may be imposed under a potential
buyout of the contract were different issues.

“They are totally different,” he said, as discussion of the subject was ended by the chairman.

Plante was hired last year to replace Town Manager Michael Thorne
who resigned after holding the post for 21 years. Thorne was recently
hired as interim town manager in Paris to replace Sharon Jackson who
was fired last month.

Selectmen, including Villa, Schorr and Bill Goodwin, told the Sun
Journal last month that they supported Plante. Winslow could not be
reached for comment at the time.

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