Landis board fires Manager Roger Hosey
By Liz Moomey
LANDIS — Five months after Roger Hosey was named town manager, he was fired Monday by a new crop of aldermen.
After coming out of a long executive session, three of the five aldermen — Mayor Meredith Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Ashley Stewart and Alderwoman Katie Sells — voted in favor of his termination. Aldermen Tony Corriher and Darrell Overcash were opposed.
After careful review and deliberation, Stewart said following the executive session, the board was going to “relieve” Roger Hosey his duties with the Town of Landis. Smith said Hosey was terminated due to just cause, a key phrase because Hosey’s contract stipulated severance if he’s terminated without cause.
Hosey attempted to make a comment during the meeting, but was advised against it by Town Attorney Rick Locklear. Though, Hosey offered a couple sentences to the Post after the meeting ended.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Landis,” he said. “I appreciate all the opportunities that have been afforded me here.”
Hosey’s time as manager has been a short, yet eventful, five months.
While his contract allowed it, Hosey announced Dec. 9 he would not serve as the town’s police chief once then-Police Chief Kenny Isenhour retired at the end of 2019.
His appointment was followed by opposition from citizens. It was a topic at a candidate forum ahead of the municipal election, too. Some citizens said the decision lacked process, especially in the absence of then-Alderman Seth Moore and that town should have opened up the town manager position for applications. Citizens also questioned whether the board negotiated Hosey’s contract, which gave Hosey a salary of $87,000.
The contract, which was updated at the Dec. 9 meeting, also contains a severance agreement.
It states: “If, at any time within 60 months from the date of execution of this contract, the manager is terminated or asked to resign by the board without just cause, the manager shall be entitled to receive two month’s salary and benefits for each year (or fraction thereof) of service with the town. Service shall be calculated based upon the Manager’s initial/original hire date as an employee of town.”
Under that clause and with an original hire date of 2007, Hosey could be due two years of salary without just cause.
“Just cause” is defined as a felony conviction or conviction of any crime involving moral turpitude. When asked, neither Alderwoman Katie Sells nor Smith specified what conviction was relevant.
On Tuesday just before midnight and following publication of this story online, Hosey said via email that he has never been charged with or convicted of a felony and considered the use of “just cause” slanderous because of the definition in his contract.
Hosey’s agreement goes on to state the manager should be entitled to pay for any accrued holiday time, sick time and vacation time. The money should be paid to the manager no later than seven days separation from the town.
The town has seen three town managers in the last year. Reed Linn resigned last February when the State Bureau of Investigation announced they were investigating him and former finance officer Ginger Gibson for embezzlement. Isenhour filled in as interim town manager before Hosey’s appointment.
Smith announced Finance Officer Diane Seaford would be acting manager, visibly coming as a surprise to her. The board unanimously approved it.
The board recessed the meeting until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In other business:
• The Board of Aldermen approved a resolution stating the town is committed to partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau and the state. Assistant Town Manager Brandon Linn said they need to ensure everyone is counted and success will be from citizens’ participation.
• The board approved a budget amendment to appropriate funds for additional expenses associated with the forensic auditor and CPA. The amendment was for $25,000.
• The aldermen decided on delegates for committees. Smith and Stewart will be delegates for the Technical Coordination Committee and Transportation Advisory Committee. Sells will serve on the Council of Government and Rowan County Local Emergencies Planning Committee. Overcash will be a delegate to Electricities.
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