by: Sarah Rosario Updated:
MONROE, N.C. - A retired Statesville city manager will now serve as the temporarily leader for the city of Monroe.
Channel 9 has been following the cities hiring and firing process for months and just last week uncovered the half a million dollar cost to tax payers.
As Monroe city leaders welcomed the new interim city manager, they want to make sure taxpayers know Bob Hites appointment came at no cost to them.
"We did not pay a search firm and want to make sure that we make that perfectly clear," said City Council member Debra Duncan
Last week, Eyewitness News first reported that the city voted to hire a search firm to find an interim city manager.
After digging through records, Channel 9 learned it is a process city leaders have gone through four times since 2005; which ended up costing tax payers more than $500,000.
Those expenses included severance packages, headhunting costs, and a $50,000 study to find out why city managers don't stay.
On Wednesday, council members told Eyewitness News they chose not to hire a search firm because Hites was referred to them and met qualifications they were looking for.
"I have 30 years in city management in the state, including 15 years in Statesville," said Hites.
Previous city manager, John D'Agostino, was hired this summer and fired a couple weeks ago.
In a statement sent to Eyewitness News earlier this month, a council member said she was disappointed with the way D'Agostino handled instances with employees and said he failed to demonstrate leadership council members hoped for.
Council members told Eyewitness News they picked Hites because of his experience.
"He seems like a great guy. He has a lot of qualifications within the State of North Carolina, which is what we're looking for," said Duncan.
As part of last week's vote, the council agreed to pay the search firm to hire a permanent manager.
They said it's something they'll consider next year.
'We have not made any definite plans about hiring a permanent city manager. We will use Mr. Hites as an interim until we decide what we're going to do," said Duncan.
Hites signed a six-month contract with the city.
Since he's retired they agreed to let him work part-time making $65 an hour.
His first day on the job will be Jan. 6.
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