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Geraldine Swanson, former litigant against Southampton, among applicants for town administrator

— A former town employee, who only recently dropped a $1.23 million suit against the town, is among the applicants for the job of town administrator.

Geraldine Swanson, 65, of 72 East St., said that her education and experience in municipal government makes her a good candidate for the position. There are 18 applicants for the post, which has been vacant since former town administrator Diana Schindler left in July 2011.

Swanson said she does not expect the civil suit, which was officially closed in Hampshire Superior Court Monday, would affect her chance of landing the job.

“We resolved it all amicably,” she said in a telephone interview Monday. “There’s no animosity.”

She was employed as the town health department’s first executive administrator from 1998 until she resigned in 2006. She then filed a suit alleging the town violated her contract and forced her to leave her position, a suit Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder dismissed May 18, 2012. She filed notice of appeal on June 8, but withdrew the appeal Thursday.

Swanson, appointed to her final three-year term as the executive administrator in April 2005, lost her seat on the Board of Health a month later.

In January, 2006, the State Ethics Commission informed the town that the appointment was improperly done, and said she must leave the post for 30 days but could be reappointed at that point.

Swanson resigned on Feb. 21, 2006, thinking she would be reappointed after 30 days, according to her testimony in court documents. The board appointed her acting health director in April, but then advertised that it was seeking a part-time health director. Swanson resigned her temporary position and applied for the permanent position. The board reposted the position with a requirement that the candidate be able to lift 50 pounds, which Swanson alleged members knew she could not do because of a back injury.

On Monday, Swanson said that the case involved “different people” that aren’t involved in town government anymore, so she doesn’t think town officials bear her any ill will. “It was just a process I had to go through,” she said of the suit.

She said she dropped her appeal last week because it was “the appropriate thing to do.”

The identities of the other 17 candidates have not been revealed, although interim town administrator Regina Shea-Sullivan, who served as assistant administrator under Schindler, has said she would apply. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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