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China Grove managers job appears safe for now

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó Town Manager Eric Davis’ job now appears safe.
Nearly six weeks ago, a majority of the Board of Aldermen apparently asked or demanded that Davis quit in a closed session, but took no official vote.
Davis hasn’t resigned and a former alderman and other supporters have garnered 200 signatures on a petition to keep Davis on the job. Hired in October 2002, Davis is only the second person to serve as manager. His contract expires Dec. 31.
Alderman Harold Simpson, one of the three aldermen apparently seeking Davis’ resignation, has changed his mind.
Simpson said Thursday that although he hasn’t voted yet, he’s convinced that the town can’t get by without a manager.
“I just don’t think we can abolish the manager’s jobs. We’ve got so much going on we have to have a manager,” Simpson said.
Aldermen Troy Elliott and Allen Welter have both spoken out in favor of eliminating the manager’s job and going back to a system where each alderman supervises a department.
“We’re just too big,” said Simpson, who would like to see the focus on doing things to improve the town. “I’ve been here 46 years and I don’t see we’ve made a lot of improvements.”
Simpson said he has no problem with Davis as manager and said he’s had a lot of phone calls and visits from people supporting Davis.
Simpson, who had a stroke earlier this year and is continuing to battle the effects, said his goal is to serve out his term, which ends in December. After that, he hopes to spend time fishing.
Simpson is pleased with the expected large crowd at the board meeting Tuesday evening.
It’s been moved from the Municipal Building to the Community Memorial Building to accommodate the large crowd.
“Having a town meeting is better than a board meeting,” Simpson said.
Welter and Elliott have repeatedly criticized Davis for poor people skills and failure to keep the board members informed of all town activities and actions.
Both have repeatedly lambasted Davis for installation of a sewer line to the Stag N’ Doe restaurant on U.S. 29, although aldermen serving at that time agreed to install the line.
Former Alderman Harry Rogers has headed up the petition drive to support Davis. Rogers said he expects a large number of supporters to speak up for Davis at the Tuesday meeting.
Rogers noted that several people have volunteered to take petitions around and have quickly filled up pages. “Dot Hauss has done a great job. She’s got four pages fill up,” he said.
Mayor Don Bringle said anyone wanting to speak at the meeting will be allowed three to five minutes at the beginning of the session.
The board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Community Memorial Building on Myrtle Street.

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