Gates Co. Commissioners hire interim manager

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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GATESVILLE – While Gates County officials search for a new manager, the position will be filled in the interim by an individual with vast experience in local government.

Scott Sauer

After spending nearly 90 minutes in closed session to discuss personnel during a special called meeting here Jan. 31, the Gates County Board of Commissioners emerged in open session to approve the hiring of Scott Sauer as county’s interim manager.

Motions to hire Sauer and his employment contract were both approved without objection.

Sauer, a native of Ohio, most recently worked as Bertie County Manager. He spent six and one-half years there before retiring on Nov. 1, 2019.

“I was delighted and somewhat surprised to receive a phone call on Friday, the [January] 13th from Dr. [Althea] Riddick [Chair of the Gates County Commissioners] asking me if I would entertain having a conversation with the county commissioners about the task ahead and the opportunity to help serve during a transitional period. I’m delighted to assist you, to work with your departments, and members of the community,” Sauer said after the vote was taken.

Sauer said he and his wife have lived for the past 10 years in Merry Hill in Bertie County. He has a long career in local government, working in five counties: Caswell, Scotland, Sampson, Harnett, and Bertie.

“I retired almost four years ago,” he noted. “My wife told me [last] summer that I needed to find a new purpose in my life. She knows I still have some energy and a strong interest in local government and public service.”

Sauer said he took his wife’s advice and filed for a seat on the Bertie County Board of Commissioners during the November 2022 election cycle.

“I lost, handily,” he admitted, “but I know that the successful candidate there will do a great job. I learned very quickly that I’m not cut out to be a politician. My place in the Lord’s plan is not to be a politician, but to serve politicians and the community. That’s what gets me excited.”

Sauer’s first official day on the job will be Monday, Feb. 13.

He signed a six-month employment contract that calls for him to work as the interim manager until Aug. 14 at a pay rate of $9,000 monthly. He will also be reimbursed monthly for his daily commute from his home in Merry Hill using his personal vehicle. Upon arriving in Gatesville, should he need a vehicle while conducting county business he will be provided a county-owned vehicle.

The agreement also calls for Sauer to be available until Feb. 10 to provide a transition period for receiving all relevant information and project updates from the current administration. During that transition period, Sauer will be paid $65 per hour plus reimbursement for mileage.

The contract may be terminated in writing, without the fault of either party, at anytime by either party giving the other five days written notice.

At the same meeting on Jan. 31, the commissioners approved a measure that calls for Gates County to partner with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners in the search for a new county manager.

All of this comes in the wake of current Gates County Manager Tim Wilson announcing early last month that he will resign from his position effective Feb. 10. He had been in that position since March of 2021.

Because his resignation is voluntary, Wilson is not eligible to severance pay or paid health insurance at the end of employment, as outlined in his contract with Gates County.

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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