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The Boston Globe

Metro

Milton selectmen terminate town administrator Kevin Mearn’s contract

If the message was not clear Monday, it was certainly clear Thursday: The Milton Board of Selectmen terminated Town Administrator Kevin Mearn’s contract with a 2-to-1 vote.

The tally was also 2 to 1 three days earlier, when selectmen voted not to renew Mearn’s expired one-year contract, mostly because of reported communication issues ­between Mearn and Police Chief Richard Wells.

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However, Mearn returned to work Tuesday, after his attorneys argued that the decision did not ­include official termination language.

At Thursday’s brief meeting, Selectman Robert C. Sweeney read an 11-part motion that called for Mearn’s termination immediately after the vote, and required him to clean out his office and turn in his keys and access cards that evening. Sweeney joined Denis Keohane in supporting the motion, while board Chairman Tom Hurley voted against it.

The motion also stated that Mearn would not be entitled to any other compensation or benefits, includ­ing severance. However, his attorneys have said his contract, though ­expired, requires the town to provide either six months’ pay or the remainder of this fiscal year’s salary of $145,886.

“We know the job is gone, but we want to make sure he is otherwise protected,” attorney Robert V. Ward said.

Mearn attended the meeting with his wife, but did not speak.

About 10 residents gathered in the senior center to hear the final verdict from the board, and three of them stood to speak before the vote. Two urged the selectmen to reconsider one last time; the third said he supported the termination.

“I will not be sorry to see Kevin Mearn go, and I want to thank the selectmen for giving this town the fresh start that it so dearly needs,” said Gregory Zazula. Zazula was the only resident to speak publicly in favor of the decision Monday or Thursday, though Sweeney said he had received e-mails from both sides of the issue.

The board will meet again next Thursday at 8 p.m. to ­begin discussing the search for a new town administrator.

Natalie Feulner can be reached at natalie.feulner@gmail.com.

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