LEWISTON — The city and former Administrator Heather Hunter signed a separation agreement this month that will pay Hunter six months severance pay for a total of $76,771.

Heather Hunter is shown in 2017 with former Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett. She resigned as city administrator March 28 and signed a separation agreement with the City Council this month that gives her six months  of severance pay. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the agreement last week, roughly a month after Hunter’s resignation became effective April 29.

Hunter, the longtime finance director who became city administrator in 2021, submitted a 30-day resignation notice on March 28. The following day, the council appointed Brian O’Malley as acting city administrator.

Hunter’s resignation followed several weeks of controversy surrounding the temporary closure of Davinci’s Eatery and the ouster of former longtime Code Enforcement Director David Hediger.

Several current and former code enforcement staff shared criticism of city administration as staff turnover continued at City Hall, with staff and former councilors speaking out against Hunter’s leadership.

There was no discussion or public statement made by the council during last week’s meeting, and no public explanation of the details of the agreement was made.

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According to the agreement, any public statement issued by the employer regarding the agreement would be subject to Hunter’s approval.

Under the terms of the agreement, both parties agreed not to “denigrate, disparage, criticize or defame” the other party. It also states that Hunter has “not commenced any lawsuit, or filed any administrative charge or complaint against employer.”

While the agreement is subject to Freedom of Access Act laws, it states that neither party will “encourage, advise, or suggest others that they seek or attempt to seek information concerning this agreement.”

The agreement was signed by Hunter on May 15, and by the council on May 23.

Asked Tuesday, Council President Scott Harriman said the council is working to select a search firm to assist with finding candidates for city administrator.

“Now that the separation agreement with Administrator Hunter is finalized, our timeline is basically as soon as possible,” he said.

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When O’Malley was appointed, the council said it would conduct a nationwide search for Hunter’s replacement.

Hunter and the city entered a five-year contract in 2021, with an annual salary of $140,000. Hunter has been with the city since 1989, serving as deputy city auditor, deputy finance director, then finance director.

She also served as an instructor at Central Maine Community College in Auburn from 1991 through May 2020.

At the time of her resignation, Hunter’s salary was $153,543.

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