Former commissioner may manage Waxhaw in interim

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Sean Poccia

WAXHAW – Sean Poccia, who recently resigned from his seat on the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners, has emerged as the frontrunner to fill the town’s manager position on an interim basis.

Waxhaw commissioners held a special  meeting Tuesday, March 18, to hear a presentation from the North Carolina League of Municipalities on the proper, or suggested, method of hiring an interim and full-time town manager.

Town Manager Mike McLaurin submitted his letter of retirement to the board of commissioners earlier this month, stating April 30 as his last day working for Waxhaw. North Carolina statutes, with the type of government set up in Waxhaw, require the town have someone in the manager position at all times. The board hopes to find an interim manager as soon as possible, Mayor Daune Gardner said following Tuesday’s meeting.

And the interim could be Poccia, who resigned from his seat on the board after commissioners asked if he would be interested in the temporary position. The search to find a full-time manager typically takes about six months, according to league representative Hartwell Wright who spoke during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Commissioner (Mike) Stewart approached me several months ago asking if I would step into the role of Waxhaw town manager on an interim basis,” Poccia said in an email, though McLaurin’s resignation wasn’t submitted until this month. “… In order to have further discussions pertaining to a succession strategy, the board of commissioners and mayor were advised by the town’s attorney that if I were to be considered a candidate for interim town manager I would need to resign to ensure regulatory conditions are met.  I resigned solely for this reason.”

The board could make a decision on who will fill the interim role during the town’s next regular meeting Tuesday, March 25, but an agenda for the meeting has not been set.

The town’s annual budget will be first on the list for whoever is appointed to the manager’s seat, something that could be difficult for a newcomer this late in the process. The budget for the 2014-15 year must be approved by June 30 or the town will have to adopt an emergency budget to allow operations in town to continue.

“With the town’s annual budget approaching $7 million, and the town taking on debt for the first time, financial stewardship and accountability are paramount,” Poccia said. “If the board of commissioners and mayor decide to allow me to serve as the interim town manager, I would use my 20 years of budgeting, accounting and financial management experience to empower the elected leadership through enhanced financial insights and operational management.”

Compensation for the interim town manager has not yet been discussed, and salary for the full-time manager will be a decision the board has to make during the hiring process. The board could take on the task itself, appoint a committee or hire a third party to narrow down the search to the final candidates who will be interviewed by the board and other town leaders.

This search comes at a time when Stallings also is searching for a new town manager. Weddington leaders also are looking for a new town planner after Jordan Cook resigned from the position.

 

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