Fraser resigns from post as administrator

Town to pay her $12,500 in severance

NEW IPSWICH — Former Town Administrator Roberta Fraser has resigned her position and reached an agreement with the town in a $12,500 severance package, after being in the position for little more than a year.

Fraser resigned her position effective May 21, and, according to a severance agreement reached with the Select Board, she will continue to be paid through the month of July.

Select Board Chair George Lawrence said that the reason behind Fraser’s resignation was a combination of personal reasons on Fraser’s part and differences of opinion between her and the board. “It was just because of different outlooks. At the present time it didn’t appear to be working as it should be,” he said in an interview Monday.

In her resignation letter, dated June 10, Fraser wrote, “It is with great sorrow that I am tendering my resignation as the Town Administrator for the Town of New Ipswich.... I have enjoyed working for the Town and cherish all of the professional and personal relationships I have established. New Ipswich is blessed to have such qualified and knowledgeable employees working for the Town and to have a Board of Selectmen that works together for the good of the Town.”

Fraser’s salary was $60,000 per year; her severance agreement includes approximately $10,000 for payment of salary in June and July. The town also agreed to pay her for 10 days of earned leave time, or an additional $2,500.

Part of the reason for the severance agreement was due to an agreement about how Fraser would be paid, said Lawrence. In November, the board agreed to allow Fraser to receive her pay in advance by one month. This was originally intended to be a temporary situation, said Lawrence, but the board had not reversed the decision and the agreement had carried through until May.

Lawrence said that he had heard several rumors about town about Fraser’s resignation, and maintained that she was neither forced out of her position, nor formally escorted out of the Town Offices.

When she was first hired, Fraser was serving part-time as the town administrator for the town of Richmond and as the Select Board chair in her hometown of Winchester. She stepped into the position of town administrator in March 2013, following the retirement of the town’s former town administrator, Marie Knowlton.

Lawrence said the board has not yet begun to advertise for Fraser’s replacement, as the board is still discussing whether they will move forward with a town administrator system, or explore a system that utilizes an administrative assistant or a business manager.

Currently, the duties of town administrator are being covered by existing town employees.

In other town employment news, the town is also seeking to fill the empty position of code enforcement officer. Those interested should contact the town office.

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