PRINCETON: Council approves separation agreement with former animal control officer who was fired

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Former Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson.

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Princeton’s former animal control officer who was fired in March 2015 will get a lump sum of around $24,000, based on a separation agreement the Council voted for on Monday.
The agreement represented a settlement between Mark Johnson, who could not be reached for comment, and the municipality that took a while to finalize. In it, Mr. Johnson acknowledged he had made a “mistake” in handling and reporting unused rabies vaccines in 2013 and 2014 and the subsequent internal investigation about the matter, the agreement read in part.
Mr. Johnson “apologizes,” the agreement continued. “With this being said, (Johnson) at no time willingly attempted to mishandle the subject vaccines or obstruct and or obfuscate said investigation. Rather, at all relevant times, (Johnson) attempted to act in a professional and responsible manner.”
As per the agreement, Mr. Johnson agreed not to sue the town, while the municipality also agreed not to seek reimbursement or take any legal action against him. He will get six months’ pay based on his $52,188-a-year salary.
“It took a long time,” Council President Lance Liverman said Tuesday of reaching an agreement with Mr. Johnson, who had worked for the town for 21 years.
Mr. Johnson’s position had been within the municipal health department, but he subsequently was moved under Princeton Police department supervision. After he was fired, the job — now held by Nate Barson — was moved back under the supervision of the municipal health officer. 