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Spencer Town Manager Terence Arrington resigns

SPENCER — Just six months into a three-year contract, Spencer Town Manager Terence Arrington has resigned.

Mayor Jim Gobbel confirmed after a called meeting Tuesday that Arrington resigned Monday, adding that the town would soon be releasing a prepared statement on Arrington’s departure.

The town’s obligation for severance payments remains unclear. According to Arrington’s contract, a voluntary resignation would leave the town free and clear of obligations for severance and benefit payments.

But if the resignation followed suggestions from members of the Board of Aldermen, Arrington could be entitled to a severance of as much as one year’s salary and compensation for earned vacation, holidays and other accrued benefits.

“In the event … the employee resigns following a suggestion, whether formal or informal, by the employer that he resign … (the employee) may be deemed to be ‘terminated,'” the contract states.

Termination before the end of the three-year contract, signed Oct. 22, would qualify Arrington for severance. Alternatively, the “terminated” designation would obligate the town to pay the difference if, within six months, Arrington were to accept employment elsewhere at a lower base salary.

Arrington’s annual base salary was $65,000, according to his contract. He also received a $300 monthly vehicle allowance and a $60 monthly cellphone stipend, though the allowances would not be payable under the contract’s severance terms.

Additionally, the town allotted $2,500 to reimburse Arrington for moving and relocation expenses, with contractual requirements that he move to Rowan County within one year of his hire date. The repayment may be unnecessary, as voter registration records list Arrington’s place of residence as Taylors, South Carolina. Arrington could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

An emerging pattern

Arrington’s May 6 resignation makes for his third premature departure from roles in municipal administration.

He served as deputy city manager in Salisbury, Maryland, from January 2014 to February 2015, when he resigned to become county manager in Darlington County, South Carolina.

There, his two-year contract with a base pay of about $100,000 was set to expire in February 2017.

Arrington resigned in August 2016 with six months left on his term, as it became clear the county’s council would not renew his contract.

Regarding his departure, Arrington told the Darlington News and Press that the decision to resign followed consultation with his attorney. He was provided six months of severance pay, for a total $50,000.

In an email to the News and Press, Arrington said he was disappointed County Council had decided not to renew his contract or “provide an official performance evaluation to justify their decision.”

In talks with the Salisbury Post after a called meeting last week, Arrington also cited performance evaluations as a factor in his decision to submit a severance agreement. In March, he’d submitted that agreement with the town after a performance evaluation he called “absolute trash.”

“It was full of insignificant things,” he said. “There was nothing of substance, and I wasn’t allowed to see the responses of individual board members. It was as if they were trying to find cause where there was none.”

Remaining costs unknown

Until the town releases its prepared statement, the financial hit of Arrington’s departure remains uncertain.

In open session Tuesday, town board member Sylvia Chillcott moved to authorize town administrators to pay attorney Patrick Flanagan for his services through administrative funds. The motion was carried unanimously.

Flanagan consulted with the board in closed session regarding Arrington’s filed severance agreement.

As of Tuesday evening, an invoice for his services was outstanding.

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