Vaughan steps down

Published 8:35am Thursday, December 5, 2013

JACKSON – He has served the citizens of Northampton County for nearly 30 years, without ever facing an opponent on Election Day.

Charles Vaughan, a veteran attorney from Woodland, believes that length of service is enough.

On Monday, Vaughan formally stepped down from his job of serving as legal counsel to Northampton County local government. He told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in a brief interview during a break in the meeting that he wasn’t retiring from practicing law.

“I think 30 years is enough; I’m ending it here,” Vaughan said.

The county’s Board of Commissioners was made aware of Vaughan’s decision prior to their Monday meeting. Near the close of that meeting, board members listened while County Manager Kenneth Creque explained the options of replacing Vaughan.

“We can go out and recruit an in-house (full-time) attorney or contract someone to do the job,” Creque said. “Please note there is a wide variation of salaries; there’s a wide variation of retainer fees and a wide variation of add-on fees. The current status quo with Mr. Vaughan will probably not be something that you should expect moving forward.”

Creque recommended that the board recruit an in-house attorney, with the mindset that those expenses could better be controlled by the county.

“However, we’re not likely to get a very experienced attorney, so there will be other costs, such as training, travel and so-forth,” Creque noted. “A contracted attorney, the more you use them, the more you pay. I think we can do both at the same time and see which one will prove as the better value for the county.”

In the interim, Creque said the county needs legal representation.

“Hopefully, Mr. Vaughan will opt to serve as our interim while we search for his replacement,” Creque said. “We will not be able to contract an interim for more than 20 hours a month and the fee would run somewhere between $4,400 and $6,600 monthly.”

Commission Chairman Robert Carter encouraged Creque to check with the state’s County Commissioners’ Association to see if they could supply a list of possible interims and/or help the county recruit full-time/contracted attorneys.

Vaughan pledged his assistance while the county seeks his replacement.

“I will represent the county on an interim basis and give you my best,” Vaughan said.

In other news concerning the leadership of the Northampton Board of Commissioners, Monday’s meeting (the first of such in December) was the traditional time to elect a board chair and vice chair. In a unanimous vote, Carter was reelected as chair. The vice chair seat was earned by Fannie Greene, by a 3-2 vote over former vice chair Virginia Spruill. Commissioners Joe Barrett, Chester Deloatch and Greene voted for Greene. Carter and Spruill cast their votes for Spruill.

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