Fired Landis manager says town owes him $450,000

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2020

By Liz Moomey

LANDIS — Former Manager Roger Hosey, who was fired by the town board on Jan. 6, says he has not been paid the nearly $450,000 he’s owed because of his ouster.

According to Hosey, money due to him includes severance as well as vacation, sick and holiday time and fringe benefits. He said the town has agreed to pay him $13,000 on Friday for “undisputed” vacation time owed.

Hosey said in an email that the Landis Board of Aldermen were made aware of money he would be owed during a closed session during a Jan. 6 meeting.

According to Hosey’s employee contract, if the manager is terminated or asked to resign without just cause, he should be given two month’s salary and benefits for each year of service with the town.

Hosey was employed by the town for 13 years.

But his contract also states, “Manager shall be entitled to pay for any accrued holiday time, sick time and vacation time in addition to any severance which may be due.”

Sick time was omitted from an original contract but added when the outgoing town board approved a new contract at its December Board of Aldermen meeting.

The town’s personnel policy, which has been in practice since 1989, conflict with Hosey’s contract.

“All sick leave accumulated by an employee shall end and terminate without compensation when the employee resigns or is separated from the town,” the policy states.

Interim Town Manager Leonard Barefoot said this is a policy for all state employees and sick time would transfer if Hosey were to go to another state government agency.

Barefoot said Hosey will receive payment for his vacation on Friday.

Barefoot, who has worked as town manager for a dozen municipalities in North Carolina, said severance is typically three to six months of pay, with the longest period he’s seen being one year. It is meant to give a buffer to a manager as they search for their next opportunity, he said.

But Hosey’s contract would give severance that’s equivalent to more than two years.

On Friday, Hosey’s attorney, S. Ellis Hankins, sent Town Attorney Rick Locklear and Barefoot a final demand letter saying Hosey and Hankins had not received a response to previous letter and laying out a settlement offer.

“We have concluded that we will not receive a response, and that we must now take steps to enforce Mr. Hosey’s rights under the employment agreement by means of a civil action,” Hankins stated. “That should not be necessary, but we are preparing to do so.”

While he did not provide a specific figure, Hosey said the settlement offer was “at a significantly reduced amount.”

“Nevertheless, the town has failed to counteroffer of even respond whatsoever,” he said.

The town is “in breach of contract,” Hankins said, “and is making no good faith effort to resolve the matter without litigation.”

Locklear confirmed in an interview Wednesday he had not responded to Hankins.

Barefoot said the town will respond to Hankins at an appropriate time and that the town didn’t agree with the letter.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct Roger Hosey’s date of termination and that he expects to be paid on Friday. We apologize for the errors.