Cajah’s Mtn. no closer to manager decision

Aug. 27, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

Members of the Cajah’s Mountain Town Council agree that they learned a lot from the forced resignation of the former town manager, but they continued Tuesday night to have trouble moving forward on how the town government should be managed.

At Tuesday’s special workshop, Anthony Starr, assistant executive director of Western Piedmont Council of Governments, presented three options for the staffing model that the council could adopt for its top administrative employee: a town clerk, a town administrator or a town manager. The costs, based on the different qualifications and responsibility of each, ranged from a salary plus benefits of about $68,000 a year for a manager or administrator, which would require someone with a bachelor’s degree, to about $46,000 for a town clerk.

Even after much discussion, the council members decided to postpone a decision to their work session on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. 

But they also made no progress on a request that Interim Town Manager Jim Chandler made in July for a new contract that would raise his pay from $425 a week to $500 a week and would pay him a total of $1,120 for his commute if he is kept on through December. Chandler started work as a part-time manager two days a week May 8 after longtime manager Connie South resigned under pressure April 26 but is unhappy with the terms of his deal, even as council members have said they have made no progress in finding a permanent replacement.

Councilman Jeff Bolick, who was not able to attend Tuesday’s work session, had asked that the decision on Chandler’s contract be postponed until the Sept. 2 town council meeting, Mayor Ronnie Setzer said. The council members did not discuss the contract proposed by Chandler.

Council members were more interested to discuss what they wanted to improve within the town limits. They agreed that town limits should not divide property, the town should pursue more grants to expand sewer service, the town should get a better handle on town policies and should address properties that are not within the town limits but are pursuing town services. They also expressed a desire to reach out to residents through special events, social media and perhaps a newsletter.

Council members also made comments on South’s forced resignation in April but still refused to say exactly what happened that prompted them to ask her to resign. Instead, they hinted at the matter by discussing what they have learned over the past few months, such as the need to address problems sooner, have better communication between town employees and the council, and enforcing checks and balances.