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Olson resigns
Town administrator steps down amid staff complaints, recent EEOC filing


Town Administrator Dan Olson resigned that post, effective Feb. 16, at the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Thursday, Feb. 12, meeting.

As first reported in farragutpress Nov. 6, 2008, Olson has been at the center of conflict among the staff at Town Hall, which includes allegations of Olson exhibiting inappropriate and unfair behavior toward certain employees and having illicit items in his desk.

“[Olson’s] performance record throughout this time has been unblemished. He has always, almost always, received favorable reviews and positive feedback from the Mayor and aldermen and citizens of the Town,” a statement from Chad Hatmaker, Olson’s attorney, read.


“Recently, however, Mr. Olson has been at the center of some disputes among employees of the Town … Mr. Olson denies that he has violated any laws in his treatment of any current or former Town employee and he is confident that the investigation undertaken by the Town will bear that out.

“Despite the fact that Mr. Olson is innocent of charges against him, he recognizes the current state of affairs and that the Town administration is unhealthy and not in the best interest of the Town or anyone else,” the statement continued.

The letter, as read by Town Attorney Tom Hale, stated Olson was tendering his resignation as Town administrator, effective Feb. 16, and would continue working for the Town from home as “budget and finance director.”

Olson would hold this position for six months, or until Aug. 15, at which time he would cease being employed by the Town.

The statement prepared by Olson’s attorney also contained a long list of Olson’s requirements from the Town, including salary, severance, vacation and sick leave accrual and insurance details.

During his six months as budget and finance director, Olson will receive 90 percent of his current salary, will accrue vacation and sick days and receive an automobile allow-ance and retirement contribution as a normal employee. He will work from home on a Town-furnished laptop computer.

As budget and finance director, Olson will report to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen instead of the Town administrator.

The Town also will cover Olson’s “reasonable business expenses” and supply health insurance to him and his family throughout his employment and severance period. After Aug. 15, Olson will receive severance payments from the Town for six months. At the end of his employment, Olson also will become owner of his life insurance policy.

Olson also asked the Town to pay his legal expenses, up to $15,000.

The statement requested the Town provide a letter of recommendation, signed by the mayor, and a “neutral reference” to any inquiries.

“In accordance with, and to the extent provided by the memorandum of agreement entered into Aug. 14, 1995, the Town will indemnify Mr. Olson and hold him harmless from any and all claims, suits, demands, judgments and liabilities of any kind of nature arising directly or indirectly out of the scope of his employment,” the statement read.

Olson and Town also will “release any and all claims they may have against the other party.” Olson agreed to cooperate with the Town in the event it was sued.

The Board approved the statement, giving Hale approval of a final settlement agreement.

Only Alderman Tom Rosseel dissented.

“I believe that since the acting Town administrator is responsible for submitting the budget to the Town and the Board, this finance director position should report to the Town administrator,” Rosseel said as his reason for dissension.

Olson has been Town administrator for 13 years. After his resignation, Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer will become the acting Town administrator.

 

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