PARIS — Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole resigned Monday in an agreement with commissioners that gives him six months of salary and health, dental and life insurance coverage through July.

Former Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole of Bethel watches county commissioners vote on a agreement his attorneys reached with the county that led to his resignation Monday at the county office in Paris. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)

The deal came a week after he was placed on paid administrative leave, and it ended his eight-year tenure with the county.

There was no hint about what prompted the leave or the resignation.

The five-page agreement was unanimously approved by Commissioners David Duguay, Steven Merrill and Tim Turner after a brief executive session Monday.

When Cole walked into the meeting room after the closed-door session, he spotted the acting county administrator, state Rep. Tom Winsor of Norway, and told him, “You have my sympathies.”

The agreement calls for Cole, of Bethel, to receive $37,485 in severance pay and nearly $10,000 for mileage reimbursement and unused vacation time. He will also have health, dental and life insurance coverage through July.

Duguay said Monday evening that Cole was paid an annual salary of $74,970 and expected to work 45 hours a week.

Cole said in his resignation letter that it “has been a privilege to hold the job, and to represent the commissioners’ positions, initiatives and authority in many venues.”

He called it a rewarding experience.

“Eight years on the job have taught me that county government organization” as laid out in Maine law “is poorly designed and better suited for another century,” Cole wrote.

He said it results in “non-accountability and blurring of responsibility among elected officials” that shortchange some.

“But, alas, it is the only horse available so we must ride it,” Cole said.

The mood in the room after commissioners approved the deal was generally friendly, if tinged with tension. Cole shook the hand of each commissioner.

The deal struck between Cole and the county includes a release of any claims any of them might have against one another, effectively closing the door on any lawsuits.

The pact requires the parties agree on a mutually acceptable letter of reference, and mandates the county chairman serve as an employment reference who will not say anything beyond what the letter lays out, unless Cole violates the non-disparagement section.

If either side violates that provision, the agreement says, the other is allowed to provide “truthful information” to correct any misstatements.

In a written statement, the commissioners congratulated Cole “for a job well done since his arrival in late 2009.”

It also said, “Both the commissioners and Cole agree that change is good as Oxford County continues to move forward into the future.”

Cole’s departure as administrator is similar to his exit from the town manager’s position in Bethel after 10 years. In February 2009, the Bethel Board of Selectmen announced it would not renew Cole’s contract when it expired June 30, 2009.

Selectmen provided no explanation for Cole’s ouster, only issuing a written statement: “We believe that Mr. Cole has done a good job in Bethel the past 10 years. His departure is taken with regret. Nevertheless, after weighing the many and varied pros and cons present in such a decision, we believe that non-renewal best serves the town’s interest.”

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Oxford County commissioners vote unanimously Monday at their office in Paris to enter into an agreement with former County Administrator Scott Cole, who resigned after reaching a deal for his departure. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)

Former Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole shakes hands Monday with county Commissioner Timothy Turner, while Commission Chairman Steven Merrill looks on. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)


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