08/15/14 — Pikeville official resigns

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Pikeville official resigns

By Melinda Harrell
Published in News on August 15, 2014 1:46 PM

Blake Proctor

PIKEVILLE -- Pikeville's town administrator Blake Proctor abruptly resigned Thursday afternoon, citing his ailing mother as the reason for his leaving.

His resignation is effective Aug. 28. However, Proctor will not be returning to work, according to Mayor Glenn Hartman.

Proctor's resignation cited that he intended on leaving town Thursday evening to attend to his mother's needs.

In the letter, Blake Proctor said, "I recognize that when I first took the helm in Pikeville 15 months ago, I promised the board that I would remain as administrator for four to five years. However, over the last several months, my 90-year-old mother's health has taken a turn for the worse."

In the letter, Proctor said that he has consulted with his mother and her attorney over the past week and concluded he needed to be available to care for her, being incapable of fulfilling his duties as administrator.

The severance package, which he details in the letter, includes accrued vacation and compensatory time that amount to 110 hours of vacation time and 53 hours of compensatory time.

The payment package was discussed with Commissioner Charles Hooks and, according to the letter, they were "in complete accord."

Charles Hooks was unavailable for comment at the time of press.

According to Hartman, no candidate is being considered to fill this position.

"We haven't discussed that yet. We will be looking for a candidate," Hartman said.

The Pikeville Town Board has scheduled a meeting to discuss personnel in a closed session Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

This meeting was scheduled before Proctor resigned.

Sources indicate that the personnel matter in question involved a conflict between Proctor and the town's chief of police.

Tacked to the Monday agenda -- the main purpose for the meeting was to discuss CDBG funding in a mandated public forum -- was an executive session to discuss personnel matters. Once the public forum regarding the CDBG matter was concluded, officials asked people attending the meeting to exit the room for the personnel discussion to begin.

The town council, Proctor, Hartman and town attorney Will Spicer were in the session that lasted no more than 10 minutes, calling in Police Chief Joe Sadler only moments before inviting the public back in to close the meeting.

The Monday night executive session was not called properly according to North Carolina Open Meetings Law.

Spicer said he informed the council of the mistake.

"Before anything was discussed, I immediately said there was not a proper notice to have a closed session and advised them to go out of the session," said Spicer.

According to Proctor, no personnel matters were discussed.

"We realized that we didn't call the closed session properly, so we immediately came out of the session. Nothing was discussed," Proctor said.

Hartman said during the time period the town incorrectly called a closed session and the time the public was invited back in they discussed the scheduling of the Aug. 19 meeting.

"We were trying to set up a time for Tuesday regarding personnel. It took some time to decide when everyone could meet," Hartman said.

When asked why Sadler was invited in before the public was invited in, Hartman said the board needed to ensure that the Aug. 19 meeting would be appropriate to fit into Sadler's schedule as well.

"He needed to be included in this because he needed to be at the meeting for us to conduct one," Hartman said.

Proctor denied any conflict with the chief of police before he announced his resignation. Sadler was unavailable for comment by press time.