Former city manager of Monroe to take new job

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:

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CORENLIUS, N.C. —

A former city manager forced to resign in a storm of controversy will take a new job as planning director in the town of Cornelius.

Town officials confirmed Monday that Wayne Herron will begin in his new role on Jan. 2 with a salary of $85,000.

Herron resigned from his job as city manager of Monroe in mid-July, taking with a severance package worth more than $200,000, including a payment equal to his salary and benefits for one year.

Cornelius town manager Anthony Roberts told Channel 9 Herron disclosed the reasons for his resignation during the interview process and added that Herron had a "stellar record" during his tenure as planning director in Monroe and Boone.

Roberts also said he had personally checked with Herron's references regarding his work as a planning director.

"At the end of the day, that's why we are hiring him," Roberts said. "Whatever happened between him and those in Monroe ... is between them."

Herron resigned at the request of Monroe City Council members after weeks of tension between City Hall and the Police Department.

Herron had urged council members to deny a merit bonus for Monroe Police Chief Debra Duncan, but an Eyewitness News investigation revealed Herron had given nearly a dozen other city employees thousands of dollars in merit bonuses around the same time period, unbeknownst to many city council members.

Herron's resignation came after officials revealed a woman called Chief Duncan from Herron's home and threatened her. At the time, council members told Channel 9 they had "no choice" but to ask Herron to step down amidst the controversy.

Cornelius residents expressed concerned over Herron's past, telling Channel 9 they wondered if other candidates had been considered.

"Considering all the information about his background, that's disheartening," Tim Washington said.

Resident Kathy Sims said, "It definitely concerns me, No. 1 that he's double dipping, getting paid twice ... and that obviously there's some reasons he's no longer there, yes I'm concerned."

A call for comment to Herron's home phone number was not returned on Monday.