Nearly two years after entering into a sometimes contentious contract with All-American Services, including using the company to supply its interim town manager, Pilot Mountain has broken ties with the company.
In the meantime, the town board hired one of its employees to be its permanent, fulltime town manager.
All-American Associates first approached the Pilot Mountain commissioners with services they offered in September of 2015.
Part of the contracting services was to help the town hire a new manager after the board fired then manager Amanda Reid.
Initially, the cost was $4,750 per month to the town. That amount included the services of Michael Boaz and Ron Niland. At the time Boaz had been appointed interim town finance officer just a few days prior, according to meeting minutes.
The new contract would include the services offered by All-American with Boaz serving as interim town manager and finance officer.
When appointed, Boaz was not be an employee of the town, but a contract worker through All-American.
However, after hearing the services offered by All-American, the board directed Ed Woltz, town attorney, to draft a contract where Boaz’s services would be contracted by All-American; in addition to consulting services, grant writing and the gathering of easements for a stream restoration project currently underway.
In October 2015, the Local Government Commission questioned the employment status of Boaz. Upon review, the commission indicated that Boaz should be a payroll employee which was brought to the attention of the board during a routine monthly meeting, via a memo.
The board placed Boaz as a part-time employee of the town that same month, according to meeting minutes, which altered terms of the contract with All-American, Kim Quinn.
The town, at this point, reduced payments from $4,750 a month to $2,250 per month, according to Quinn.
On Nov. 2, 2015, the noard revised the contract to reflect the change in Boaz employment.
However on Nov. 30, Quinn stated she questioned the employment status of Boaz, arguing he should be a full-time employee of the town, but the board took no action.
In September 2016, Boaz was hired as town manager. However, Mayor Dwight Atkins, Ron Niland, and Boaz had already verbally agree’d to revise the contract without board approval prior that year.
The revised contract reflected that Boaz was a full-time employee of the town, and his services were no longer rendered through AAA, dropping the monthly payments from $2,250 to $1,100.
Quinn said earlier this month that affected town payroll taxes and benefits Boaz should have received.
Boaz said, “I’m sure Ron will cut you a check for $75 a month, or whatever the amount is for the taxes.”
Boaz did admit the change was probably in error. “We should have brought it back to the board, but it didn’t change any dollar amount,” he said. “The town was still paying the same amount, it just changed where it was going too.”
Quickly, the mayor interrupted and said, “Let’s not have a contentious argument.”
In October Niland had offered to end the contract with Pilot Mountain, and while the board took no action then, it voted unanimously this month to take his offer and end work with the firm.
Mayor Dwight Atkins did not return phone calls for comment on his participation in the contract revision without board approval.
Commissioner Evan Cockerham stated in a later interview he did not have an issue with the contract revision. “I didn’t see it as an issue, the town was saving money.
“The only issue I have is the performance of the contract and if the town got a good value, and I don’t believe we did.”
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC