Maggie Valley Alderman Philip Wight made a motion at the November town board meeting to give the job to Nathan Clark, the-town-planner-turned-interim-manager, with a one-year contract.
But Mayor Ron DeSimone questioned whether the board should rush to name a town manager at the 11th hour before the town board’s political makeup is about to change. Two new aldermen will be sworn in to the five-person board in early December following an upset election this month.
“I thought it was a little inappropriate to talk about that on the cusp of a new board,” said DeSimone, who will still be around as mayor. “Obviously that is a discussion that should be a little more in-depth than the spur of the moment.”
Clark had the support of the other town board members, and the support of DeSimone as well. But DeSimone thought it would be better for the new board members to participate in the decision, rather than inherit a decision made on the eve of their taking office.
So DeSimone suggested an alternative: that the town board begin negotiating a contract with Clark. No final vote would come until after the new board members were seated. The new board may or may not be interested in going through a search.
Clark has impressed town leaders and gained support of employees since taking the reins.
At the meeting, Clark said he would be interested in the job of town manager but agreed there needed to be further discussions before finalizing a contract.
Clark was named interim town manager last month under somewhat unpleasant circumstances. The town manager, Tim Barth, had resigned under pressure after unorthodox financial practices by the festival director came to light, whereby the town footed the bill upfront for private festivals in the name of economic development on the promise of being repaid.
The town of Canton is also in the process of hiring a new town manager. Haywood County is in the same boat as well, with an interim manager promoted from within who could grow into the job permanently.