Golden leaving with $200,000 separation agreement

BPDA director found himself in awkward spot with Wu

BRIAN GOLDEN is leaving his job as director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency with a payout of more than $200,000, according to the separation agreement he signed.

The agreement, which was signed last Thursday and obtained through a public records request, was not particularly large. Brenda Cassellius received well over $300,000 when she agreed to resign her job as superintendent of the Boston Public Schools; her deal included a full year’s salary.

Brian Golden

Golden’s deal, by contrast, included six months of salary worth $111,132, $50,165 as compensation for accrued vacation time, $34,415 for accrued sick leave, and 16 months of family health insurance premiums. The amount of the premiums was not disclosed in the document.

Golden found himself in an awkward spot with the administration of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Wu has proposed eliminating the Boston Planning and Development Agency and wanted to see Golden removed, but she did not have the authority to fire him and the Boston Planning and Development Agency could only remove him for “just cause.”

Indeed, the separation agreement acknowledges that Golden “provided the BPDA with commendable service, with no wrongdoing or misconduct.”

The agreement also includes a sweeping provision barring Golden from suing the agency. “The Employee understands that by signing this Agreement he is expressly and voluntarily releasing all Claims he has, may have, or could have brought against the Releasees from the beginning of the world to the date of the execution of this agreement,” the document says.

Golden hung on to his position for quite awhile after Wu took office, but eventually agreed to leave. He served eight years in his position, making him the longest-serving director in the agency’s history. He was originally appointed by former mayor Marty Walsh.

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Accolades have come his way from many corners since he announced his decision to step down. A Boston Globe editorial called him the “proverbial tough act to follow,” saying he took “Boston’s leading development agency from a dusty, mismanaged relic of a bygone era and turned it into a 21st-century operation that could keep the pipeline of new development flowing — and do it in a way that recognized community needs and sensibilities.”

Neither Golden nor city officials could be reached for comment.