Waxhaw shuffles staff, names interim manager

WAXHAW – Leaders in Waxhaw made two changes to town staff at the Tuesday, April 22, meeting – first by hiring Greg Mahar as the interim town manager and then hiring former commissioner Sean Poccia as a consultant.

The search for an interim town manager began after current town manager, Mike McLaurin, gave his notice of retirement to the board after commissioners failed to discuss the renewing of his contract. McLaurin will continue in the role of manager until April 30. Mahar, who is currently the director of planning and community development, will take on the role of interim town manager on May 1, although the pay increase is already in place as Mahar begins taking on some of McLaurin’s responsibilities.

Commissioners on Tuesday were happy to move forward with the process of naming a leader for town staff.

“We’ve spent multiple meetings and we have looked at all of the (possible) candidates,” Commissioner John Hunt said at the meeting regarding the board’s process for selecting Mahar.

Mahar, who currently has a yearly salary of $80,711, will receive an additional $1,000 per week while in the role of interim town manager. McLaurin currently receives a yearly salary of $107,007.

Mahar will oversee all operations of the town and its employees and will be responsible for working with commissioners to adopt a 2014-15 fiscal budget, which has to be approved by June 30. Mahar previously had a role in developing past budgets as a member of town staff, Mayor Daune Gardner said, giving her faith that he can construct a sound budget for the board to work with.

“I have full confidence that Greg Mahar is the best choice that we had before us,” Gardner said. “I think we will find this is the best choice we could have come up with as we move forward with the next stage of transition for the community.”

Poccia, who was on the board for two years before resigning in March, has been hired as a consultant for the town regarding the development of the budget, forecasting and the search for the full-time town manager. He will make $125 per hour, working eight to 16 hours per week for a total of 30 weeks, Gardner said.

Poccia could bring in a maximum of $60,000 working the 16-hour maximum for all 30 weeks, or a minimum of $30,000 working the eight-hour minimum for all 30 weeks. Commissioners make a yearly salary of $8,863.

“The role that he has been engaged in is very similar to the arrangement we currently have with Nicole Branch where he will be reporting to and working directly with the board. That will not overlap with the manager position,” Gardner said.

Although the mayor says the two positions will not overlap, Mahar and Poccia will work together to create the coming year’s budget, she said. Poccia, who helped McLaurin develop the budget in the past as a commissioner, has had a role in the budget process for the past two years – something Gardner said will be beneficial moving forward.

“In his two years as commissioner he was heavily involved in the transitioning of the budget from where we were at that time to where we are today,” she said.

Poccia also will oversee the search for a full-time town manager. Commissioners will begin discussing the process for hiring a manager during the May 7 work session.

Board members voted unanimously for both decisions. Leaders have not started discussing in open meeting how to fill Poccia’s now-empty seat on council.

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