- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—SPRING LAKE — The town of Spring Lake has hired its former interim town manager as a consultant for administrative services and technical support on a temporary basis.

The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen unanimously approved hiring Andy Wilkison on Monday on an “as-needed basis” for a 90-day period during its regular meeting at Town Hall.

“It’s another way to get our town on track,” Town Manager Tad Davis said after the meeting.

Wilkison could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Wilkison’s duties as an independent contracting consultant would probably not exceed 10 hours a week, according to Davis. At 10 hours, Wilkison’s weekly salary would be about $500.

“So this really gets after our financial management, our policies and procedures, and updating our emergency management procures, getting where we need to be,” Davis told the board.

But approval didn’t come without board discussion and tweaking to Wilkinson’s recommended contract for administrative services and technical support.

Alderwoman Fredricka Sutherland questioned why Spring Lake was hiring what she described as a second town manager when Davis recently was hired to do the job, replacing the interim Wilkison on July 13.

“We’ve hired a capable town manager,” she said. “Looks like we’re still utilizing taxpayer dollars” to pay a full-time and part-time town manager.

Sutherland expressed concerns over the amount of money Wilkison could receive, based on the terms of the proposed contract. It called for an established rate of $50 per hour to remain in effect for one year.

Alderman James Christian said he could support the agreement, but only for a 90-day period. After that, he said, the board could revisit terms of the contract.

“I can’t see it taking a whole year to review all of our policies,” he said. “That’s my biggest concern.”

Following allegations of misuse in the town’s credit card program, the N.C. Office of State Auditor launched an investigation of Spring Lake’s finances.

State auditors initiated the probe March 26 to delve into questionable use of the town-issued purchasing cards by employees and elected officials.

As of Monday, the town had not received the report.

The town hired Wilkison as the interim manager after Ken Metcalf, the former town manager, resigned March 23.

In an interview after his resignation, Metcalf admitted he failed to do a good job supervising the procurement card program, which dates to Jan. 1, 2010.

Davis, a former Fort Bragg garrison commander and retired Army colonel, was hired to replace Wilkison.

As a consultant, Wilkison would initially provide on-call technical assistance and administrative services to include the following:

Technical assistance and support in the research and preparation of special administrative projects at Davis’ direction, consisting of the review and updating of financial and administrative policies of the town. The town has several dozen of the policies, Davis said, with a number of them needing updating based on current law and statues and revised to meet current operating procedures.

A retooling of the town’s personnel policy.

A review and updating of the town’s emergency operations plan. “The fact we are in hurricane season right now and want to be prepared for the worst,” Davis said.

“I think it’s important we take the time now to be prepared for something that at some point in time will happen. At some point in time,” he said, “there will be an incident we have to respond to, so let’s take the time now while we have the expertise available that can help us retool this effort.”

Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at [email protected] or 486-3529.

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(c)2015 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

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