Fuquay-Varina town manager resigns

aramos@newsobserver.comJuly 5, 2013 

Fomer Fuquay-Varina Town Manager Jon Barlow

TOWN OF FUQUAY-VARINA — TOWN OF FUQUAY-VARINA

— Jon Barlow, who abruptly resigned from his job as town manager, will continue to get salary payments and benefits from Fuquay-Varina for six months.

Barlow gave a letter of resignation to town attorney Mark Cumalander on June 28. He did not say why he was leaving the job, only that he was pursuing future endeavors, Cumalander said.

Under Barlow’s “at will” job contract, he was required to give the town two months’ notice if he chose to resign.

If he got fired without cause, however, the town would owe him six months of pay, health-insurance coverage and retirement benefits, along with money from unused vacation time, according to the contract.

Barlow wasn’t fired, but town officials chose to offer the money and benefits, said Commissioner Ed Ridpath.

“It’s one of those things, it’s like a marriage that ends,” Ridpath said. “It’s obvious to me, at this point the relationship has ended. No one wants it to end badly.”

Barlow, who could not be reached for comment, will be paid a total of $77,656 during the next six months. The package includes salary, health insurance and retirement funds, said town spokeswoman Susan Weis.

Under state law, the town would have to disclose a letter of termination if Barlow was fired. Because he resigned, Fuquay-Varina does not have to release information about why he no longer works for the town.

Mayor John Byrne said giving Barlow the money package “was the right thing to do.”

“I will never say anything bad about Jon Barlow,” Byrne said.

The Board of Commissioners did not accept Barlow’s resignation unanimously. Commissioners Bill Harris and Jim Abernethy voted against it on Monday.

Commissioners Cindy Sheldon and Charlie Adcock, who voted to accept the resignation, referred all questions to Byrne.

Barlow is a former Raleigh police officer and came to Fuquay-Varina in April 2011 after serving as the town manager in Roxboro, near the Virginia border. He also managed the towns of Nashville, N.C., population 4,300, and Lake Waccamaw, a town of about 1,400 people. He beat out 79 other candidates for the Fuquay-Varina job.

He did not face any disciplinary actions on the job, Weis said.

During his time with the town, Fuquay-Varina’s property tax rate remained steady, and Barlow helped with a new health-incentives program for town employees.

Under his management, the town ended its decades-long contract with the Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association, which provided youth sports programs. The town created its own program, a move that drew protests from some parents and FVAA supporters.

An interim manager

Andy Hedrick will serve as the interim town manager.

Hedrick, who held the job for six years until 2010, is coming out of retirement to fill in temporarily. He will be paid $2,600 a week for a six-month contract set to begin July 8.

“We know Andy, and he knows us,” Byrne said.

Abernethy was the only commissioner who voted against appointing Hedrick.

“I felt we didn’t need to revisit the past,” Abernethy said. “We should move forward.”

The town board will decide whether to hire a company to help search for a new town manager or to use an internal process.

Ramos: 919-460-2609

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