The Clayton County Board of Commissioners narrowly approved an employment contract, Tuesday night, to have Wade Starr as its county manager until the summer of 2013.
The contract, which was approved by county commissioners on a 3-2 vote, guarantees Starr a $150,000 annual salary, and sets the guidelines for his employment in the newly created managerial position. Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell, and Commissioner Michael Edmondson voted against the agreement.
The commission had already voted to hire Starr, who was previously the county’s fleet maintenance director, to the position on Sept. 6 — by a 3-1 vote — but this week’s move makes it official.
“I appreciate the confidence that the board has shown in me, and look forward to trying to work with them to move the county forward,” Starr said after the vote, Tuesday.
His new contract lasts until June 30, 2013, and calls for an automatic renewal on its anniversary date, for another two-year term, unless commissioners give him, at least 90 days notice –– before the expiration date — of their plans to terminate his employment. It also calls for the county to pay him the remainder of the money owed to him in salary under the contract, if he is fired from the job before the contract expires.
Starr’s salary will also be retroactively adjusted to his new job’s pay, back to Sept. 7, the contract states. He said he has already been doing some work since commissioners voted to appoint him to the position earlier this month. “I’ve actually been working [as county manager], pretty much,” he said. “I’ve just been in transition.”
The commission has agreed to pay for Starr’s expenses incurred from professional development, work-related travel, membership in professional organizations and local civic groups, and legal defense (if accused in court of any wrongdoing in the performance of his duties as county manager).
Commissioners also agreed to provide Starr with a computer, software, fax machine, cell phone and pager, so he can perform his duties.
Starr can also pursue “limited teaching, consulting or other business opportunities” as long as those opportunities do not constitute a conflict of interest with his duties as county manager, according to the contract.
Chairman Bell said that although he voted against the agreement, he felt it was important to have an agreement in place that outlined some of the boundaries for Starr’s employment. Bell has consistently voted against anything related to the position, dating back to when commissioners weighed whether to create the job.
“I think it’s important for him, and the board, and the community, to know what his duties and responsibilities are, and how the county has enumerated them,” Bell said.
The chairman said he has been working with, and will continue to work with, Starr. “On behalf of the people of Clayton County, I will take the responsibility of the chairman, as I always have, in working with anyone towards the best interests of the people of Clayton County,” Bell added. “Mr. Starr and I, thus far, have had a good working relationship, and I plan to do everything in my power to continue that.”
In other action, commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with Tara Baptist Church pastor, Rev. Ron Little, to have him serve as the chaplain of the Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services Department. Little will be paid $1,000 per month to be the fire department’s chaplain, under the agreement, according to county documents that accompanied the proposed contract.
The commission also voted 5-0, in other action, to authorize the county to participate in U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama’s nationwide “Let’s Move! City, Town or County” campaign. The campaign is intended to get local elected officials to adopt long-term plans to fight childhood obesity, according to the web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is overseeing the program.
The Department Health and Human Services site states that municipalities participating in the “Let’s Move!” campaign have to commit to implementing at least one year-long obesity-fighting action in four areas, including: Giving parents and caregivers tools to make healthy choices in the early lives of children; improving school nutrition; increasing opportunities for physical activity, and making healthy food available and affordable to the public.