Motion to fire county manager rescinded

Published 5:24 pm Friday, November 18, 2022

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GATESVILLE – Tim Wilson continues to serve as the Gates County Manager.

At the Oct. 19 meeting of the Gates County Board of Commissioners, there was a motion put on the floor calling for the immediate termination of Wilson’s employment contract. Commissioner Jonathan Craddock made that motion, which was properly seconded by Commissioner Ray Freeman.

A brief discussion ensued among the board members, but before a vote could be taken on Craddock’s motion, Freeman suffered a medical emergency, which prompted an unexpected end to the meeting.

A few days later, Dr. Althea Riddick, chair of county commissioners, said Craddock’s motion would be voted upon at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 16.

Four minutes into that meeting this past Wednesday, the board voted to enter into a closed session, citing “attorney-client privilege” and “personnel” as the reasons.

Just under an hour later, the board emerged from their closed-door session.

“We have a motion on the floor from our regular meeting held Oct. 19. Is there any discussion about that motion,” Riddick inquired of her colleagues.

“As a result of the closed session discussion among all commissioners, I will rescind my prior motion [made] at the Oct. 19 meeting,” Craddock stated.

“The motion is rescinded,” Riddick ruled.

When asked in an email sent Thursday by this newspaper as to the reason why he opted to withdraw his motion, Craddock stated, “Thank you for reaching out, but because of attorney client privilege I have no comments.”

At the Oct. 19 meeting, Craddock made his feelings known over an issue he had brought up at several previous meetings….upgrading chairs and worktables for the dispatchers at the county’s 911 Dispatch Center.

“We’ve been talking about this – ordering tables and chairs – for almost a year now,” Craddock noted at the Oct. 19 meeting. “We’ve been kicking this can down the road….waiting on the [state] E-911 Board, waiting on supply chain issues. Can’t we do something to fix it?”

Craddock appeared displeased over why Wilson was taking so long to order the chairs and tables. That apparently led him to motion for Wilson’s firing, citing “insubordination and the lack of performing his duties” as the reasons.

Riddick asked Craddock to define insubordination.

“We’ve talked about this in I don’t know how many meetings,” Craddock replied. “On this particular item, me and Commissioner [Jack] Owens have sat down and spoke with him [Wilson], asking him to address the issue. We’ve talked about this in probably four or five meetings. I documented it on his [Wilson’s] evaluation. The list goes on. He has disregarded anything I say. This [response] can go on as much as you want.”

“If it goes on, I’d like you to go on with the facts sir,” Wilson responded.

“I called for a vote,” Craddock said….to which Riddick interjected, “stop, stop, stop,” while banging the gavel.

It was at that point where Freeman suffered a medical emergency while seated in his chair. Individuals rushed to his aid and Gates County EMS responded to the scene.

Freeman has since recovered from that medical emergency. He was in attendance at this past Wednesday’s meeting.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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