Mayor redefines administrator duties- Prior to suspension

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Phyllis Lollis is currently suspended from her position as Administrator of The Town of Williamston and will remain so until at least April. In their first meeting of the new year, the mayor and council decided not to make a decision on the position until after an election to fill an empty seat on council. An election will be held Apr. 2 to fill the seat vacated by Durham when he became mayor.

Newly installed mayor Dr. R. Mack Durham took action to suspend Lollis early Jan. 2, shortly after privately being sworn in as mayor. Apparently the suspension came after the administrator was issued a memo from the new mayor redefining some aspects of the position.

A copy of the memo provided to The Journal shows that the new mayor may have a different view of some details of the position than under the previous administration. The memo begins redefining the position until a decision is made by council on what to do with it.

In the memo to Lollis dated Jan. 2, Mayor Durham states that he is the Chief Administrator and the Administrator is subordinate solely to his direction and filling the role of assisting the mayor in his office.

The memo states that “any variance from my instruction will be viewed as insubordinate behavior and will result in immediate suspension until the full council may perform a review of your behavior and make a determinatin of appropriate actions.”

The memo states that effective immediately, the administrator is to record time at work through the timeclock/time card system used by other employees. Weeks reflecting less than 40 hours of actual work time will be considered use of personal days.

It also states that use of a personal cell phone , including talking, texting and internet access is expressly prohibited during work hours.

It also states that the administrator will be subordinate to department heads unless otherwise directed by the mayor.

“Effective immediately, you will exercise no supervisory powers or direction over any other employee of the Town of Williamston. You are simply to complete the tasks that I assign to you in assistance of my responsibilities.”

It also states that “As a salaried employee, hours worked within the office may vary depending on my schedule, but typically you should plan on an 8 hour work day with a 1 hour lunch break.”

The memo states, “I will be evaluating job skills to assign tasks within your capabilities and to attempt to fully utilize your talents in the assistance of needs that I will define and determine. I look forward to working with you in our newly defined relationship.”

Last Wednesday, Durham said that Lollis had been suspended with pay and that the question of what to do about the administrator position was going to be discussed by Council at their meeting Monday. He said the position will be redefined and he hopes council will consider making the position part-time.

During the four hour council meeting Monday , Council went into an hour and a half executive (secret session) to discuss a personnel item.

Upon returning to open session, Councilman Otis Scott made a motion to postpone any decision about the administrator position until a full council can be seated and to let the mayor decide if she remains on suspension.

Council unanimously approved the motion and will take up the issue after the election Apr. 2.

Administrator Duties as defined by ordinance