Log in Newsletter

Spring Lake to reopen manager search


SPRING LAKE — The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen will be advertising once again for a permanent town manager, which was announced Monday night at its regularly scheduled board meeting.

Mayor Kia Anthony said the board had heard from the Local Government Commission, which sent a letter outlining six reasons for declining the proposed employment contract between the town and Justine Jones.

“We did receive an answer from the LGC in regard to the approval of Miss Jones’ contract,’’ Anthony said. “That was denied, and we are having to reopen the process to start our manager search over. We are going to have to assume the cost for again, but we will keep you updated as more things come to light.” 

In a letter to the board sent last week, Local Government Commission Secretary Sharon Edmundson, who also serves as the deputy treasurer for the State and Local Government Finance Division, said that state Treasurer Dale Folwell and the LGC staff were willing to assist in hiring a town manager and outlined what the LGC considered to be necessary executive and administration qualifications for a new manager.

This skill set includes:  

  • A demonstrated success and experience as a manager of a North Carolina municipality with a size of population, staff, services and budget comparable to that of Spring Lake, most preferably for a minimum of two years. It was added that three to four years would be better.  
  • Possibly demonstrated success as a manager in turning around a distressed town or community. 
  • The ability to hit the ground running leading all town administrative functions. 
  • Demonstrated attention to detail in all written and oral correspondence. (Jones had sent a cover letter and resume to the “Town of Spring Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia” before sending a corrected version to the town of Spring Lake.) 

“We did decide to post the town manager position,’’ Alderman Raul Palacios said. “We will be reviewing it by Friday and it will be posted by Monday.”  

Palacios said last week that the board was given guidelines from the LGC in the letter that would help as they move forward.  

Alderman Marvin Lackman echoed his sentiment. 

“As a board, we are still learning, but we want to make sure we get it right,’’ Lackman said. “We are going to open the search back up to hire the most qualified person that we can bring in here.”   

The board entered a closed session citing N.C. general statutes for personnel and attorney-client privilege and came out of the closed session after 30 minutes with the announcement. 

Your support helps ensure a more informed community. Donate today.  

In other discussion, the board clarified that it had received payments from the Boys and Girls Club of Cumberland County, but it had not received an up-to-date contract in several years.  

At their last regularly scheduled meeting, Alderwoman Sona Cooper brought up that the contract between the Boys and Girls Club and the town had not been updated or signed since 2019 and the town had not been receiving monthly payments. The Boys and Girls Club uses the Spring Lake Recreation Center for its after-school activities.

Director Russell McPherson spoke during the public comment to have the record corrected that all invoices from the town had been paid and they were not behind on payments.

Fire Chief Jason Williams, who is also serving as interim town manager, said they do have record of payment from the Boys and Girls Club. 

“There was a miscommunication,’’ Williams said. “The contract was the problem, we had the checks.” 

He said the town would be meeting with the Boys and Girls Club and Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks & Recreation to update the contract in January.

The board also approved a new payment plan for the second fire station built in 2021.

The Local Government Commission discovered in April that the town had circumvented the debt-approval process and had entered into an eight-year loan for $1.2 million for the fire station.

The terms approved, which were negotiated between the LGC and South River Electric Membership Corp., extended the maturity date from October 2030 to October 2039 and reduced payments to $55,555.56 over 18 years.

A longer payback period will help the town as it struggles to regain its financial footing.

Jami McLaughlin covers Spring Lake for CityView. She can be reached at jmclaughlin@cityviewnc.com.  

Spring Lake, Board of Aldermen, town manager