Local News

Woodstock town manager signs separation agreement

By Katy Savage

Woodstock has reached a separation agreement with former Village and Town Manager Bill Kerbin.

Under the agreement, Kerbin agreed to resign on May 2. He’ll receive 22 weeks of severance pay, ending Sept. 30 and totaling $46,578, which is in line with his annual salary of $110,000.

The separation talks began on April 11, when Kerbin was placed on paid administrative leave, though neither the Select Board or Village Trustees have explained why.

The separation agreement, drafted by attorneys for Kerbin and the town, included a non-disparagement section, where both parties agreed not to harm each other’s reputations.

The town and village also agreed to provide Kerbin a recommendation letter with references “in a form mutually acceptable to the parties” and a reference which “will confirm that Manager voluntarily resigned from his employment for his own reasons, and not because of any misconduct or performance deficiencies…and will not say or suggest anything that might tend to reflect poorly on Manager or his personal or professional reputation.”

The recommendation letter, dated May 2, was signed by Woodstock Village chair Seton Mcilory and Woodstock Select Board vice chair Ray Bourgeois.

The letter praises Kerbin for becoming manager at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Bill is friendly, personable and committed to his work,” the letter says. “During Bill’s tenure, he has also overseen the building of a new Emergency Services Building, the passage of a bond and project planning for an updated sewer plant, the repaving of major roads and management of ARPA funds.”

The letter also explained Kerbin made valuable relationships with civic organizations.

“We know Bill will put his whole heart into any position for which he is hired,” the letter said.

Kerbin was formerly the town manager in Onancock, Virginia. Before that, he was the director of community development for the city of Oneonta, New York. Kerbin replaced Phil Swanson, who was town manager for about 20 years before he died in 2019.

Select Board chair Joe Swanson, Phil Swanson’s son, said he had not received a resignation letter from Kerbin as of May 15. Joe Swanson, who also serves as sergeant of the Woodstock Village Police Department, said he recused himself from discussions about Kerbin’s future. Joe Swanson did not comment further.

David Green, the fire chief, has been named interim town manager — a position he stepped into immediately following Swanson’s death.

Green said he did not know the details of Kerbin’s departure.

Kerbin agreed to cooperate with “any and all matter arising during or related” to his employemnt and “all matters in connection with any governmental investigation, litigation or regulatory or other proceedings which may have arisen or which may arise.”

Kerbin also agreed to waive his rights associated with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Jeff Kahn, the vice chair of the Village Trustees, said the town and village are just beginning the process of hiring someone to replace Kerbin.

“We’re creating a selection committee, which will review and do initial interviews,” Kahn said.

Kahn declined to comment on Kerbin’s separation agreement other than to say, “We wish him the best in our future endeavors.”

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