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Port Royal establishes town manager position

Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

The Town of Port Royal is looking to hire a part-time town manager.

Town Council established the position at its April 15 meeting and decided the starting salary would be $600 per month.

The position description will be posted at the Port Royal Post Office, though Council members do have a candidate in mind from their own ranks—Vice Mayor Bill Wick.

Wick would have to resign from Council if he formally seeks the position. He’s already been fulfilling some of the potential duties.

The town manager’s responsibilities would resemble those of Bowling Green’s town manager.

Typically, a town manager is hired by the locality’s town council and serves as the administrative head of the town government. He or she handles the town’s day-to-day business between council meetings.

Port Royal’s mayor has been serving those functions and acting as the main point of contact for the town.

“There’s just a lot going on right now, and I can’t get to it all, and everybody else is busy with work,” Mayor Nancy Long said.

The pending boundary adjustment with Caroline County is expected to bring in more revenue to Port Royal, as well as add to the workload of Town Council.

“In an 80-odd-thousand-dollar-a-year town, those duties are going to be a lot more extensive than they were in a $20,000-a-year town,” Councilman Jim Heimbach said.

Council members discussed the possibility of having a town manager start within the next couple of months, but deferring payment until after the new revenue from the boundary adjustment starts flowing in.

Councilman Bill Henderson recommended waiting until after the boundary adjustment is approved before hiring anyone.

“I’m worried about this revenue maybe not beginning in July. Maybe it’s going to be delayed. … I would rather wait until we have the money flowing in,” Henderson said.

“What’s another month? Why create a position we may not be able to pay for if this thing is delayed? … What if the judge delays it?” he added. “I agree that the position is necessary. I’m all for it once the money starts rolling in.”

Councilwoman Della Mills said, “We’re going to have to learn how to move a little faster than we have been.”

“But let’s be prudent about it. Let’s not create a position we can’t afford. We can’t afford it right now,” Henderson said.

“I really feel we need to have something in place by June so that we’re ready,” Long said.

Council decided to post the position at a salary of $600 per month, with the start date to be determined.

Also that evening, Council scheduled a public hearing. At the start of its 7 p.m., May 20 meeting, Council will hear public comments about its proposal to raise water rates by $10 per month for residential and commercial customers.

If approved, the increase would take effect in July.

At the start of the April 15 meeting, Council welcomed new member Gladys Fortune. She is filling the unexpired term of her late husband, Oliver Fortune, a longtime councilman who died in January.