IRVINE (CNS) - The boards overseeing OrangeCounty's toll roads today approved the resignation of their chief executive. who according to a published  report had been put on leave last month.

Transportation Corridor Agencies CEO Neil Peterson officially announced his resignation today, which was approved by the boards overseeing the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency.

The boards for both agencies will pay Peterson $78,845 in compensation and benefits while he is on leave until June 5, according to a staff report to the boards.

Peterson was hired last June as chief executive of the two agencies. The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency manages the 133, 241 and 261 toll roads, while the San Joaquin Hills agency manages the 73 Toll Road.

Peterson's settlement agreement with his employers includes giving him the opportunity to “personally clear out his office,” and to maintain the “contacts” on his work cellphone and email.

Peterson's resignation terms will be kept confidential, unless it becomes part of litigation. Future employers seeking references will only be told when he was hired and when he resigned.

The Orange County Register reported Peterson was put on leave last month when it came to light he and Foothill/Eastern Agency board chairwoman Lisa  Bartlett approved major contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars by using a  budget loophole.

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who serves on the Foothill/Eastern board, said he opposed the settlement.

“Based on information I have that I am not at liberty to share I believe he should have been let go for cause,” Spitzer said.

Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett, chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern board, said, “Neil's departure from the agency will give him the opportunity to focus on charitable work to which he is passionately committed.”

Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill, chairman of the San Joaquin Hills board, added, “We thank Neil for his contributions and wish him well in his next endeavor.”