Stafford Township Administrator Ousted By Incoming Mayor, Council

Dec 20, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill Outgoing Stafford Township Administrator Jim Moran discussing flooding problems on Mallard Island in 2014.

Stafford Township Administrator James Moran has announced he will retire, effective Jan. 1, but the circumstances surrounding his departure are not as he would have hoped.

“For me, the toughest thing is not having been accorded the respect of a conversation,” he said Tuesday, following a series of emails with incoming Mayor Greg Myhre, in which Moran was informed he would not be needed to attend the reorganizational meeting in any official capacity, nor to participate in the transition as the new administration settles in.

On Wednesday, Myhre said he had no comment on personnel-related matters. “The new council and I are looking forward to the new year, and we will work hard for the residents of Stafford.”

The initial email came to Moran Friday afternoon. Myhre inquired as to Moran’s employment status. “Accordingly, could you please advise whether you have in fact submitted your retirement/ resignation paperwork and, if so, what is the effective date of such?”

Moran replied, “Mr. Myhre, the explanation is not as simple as it may seem. I would love to have the opportunity to have a 15-minute conversation to explain in detail. I am only interested in what is best for Stafford and have devoted 30 years of my career to achieving that goal. I am available at your convenience.”

Myhre declined, saying he preferred to communicate strictly by email for accuracy’s sake.

Moran assured Myhre “I have no intention of creating any issues for you or Stafford. In short, every year for the last seven years, I have filed my retirement papers with the state, and annually I change the date, in order to protect my wife’s ability to get both my pension and health benefits, should I die. (This is common practice, Moran said.)

“When it became apparent that a new governing body would be coming into office in January, I changed my date and moved it forward by a month in order to do two things: First, to insure that if the new governing body were to fire me on Jan. 1 I would have my health benefits in retirement [if a legal resolution became necessary he would need to retire before that time]; and second, so that if a new governing body did not want me to stay, the town would not be obligated to any severance as the law provides.

“I do not want anything from Stafford that I have not earned,” he continued. “That is a burden on the people of our township. Actually, as is the norm in these situations, I expected we would talk and, if you wanted me to stay, even in transition, we would discuss and decide on a course of action and I would change the date of my retirement once again.”

Myhre’s response: “The council will formally accept your retirement effective Jan. 1, 2019, at the reorganizational meeting. Accordingly, there will be no need for you to attend the reorganizational meeting in any official capacity nor to stay on during the transition period.”

Moran has served as administrator and director of the Water and Sewer Utility since July 2009, handling the town’s day-to-day business. Among his proudest achievements during his tenure with Stafford is solving financial problems, he said. When he started, the water department was $2.5 million in debt, and now it’s $6 million in the black. He cleaned up the municipal budget surplus, which is now over $10 million. He has helped reduce the town’s debt by $45 million. He leaves a legacy of “10 years of audits with no recommendations.”

—Victoria Ford

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