Phenix City reinstates Wallace Hunter as city manager - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Phenix City reinstates Wallace Hunter as city manager

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PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

In a City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 3, Phenix City reversed the decision to dismiss city manager Wallace Hunter, reinstating him to his position.

Hunter was released of his duties in a May Phenix City Council meeting where council members voted 3-2 to unseat him. This decision was met by much opposition from the public. Even leading some residents to speak out at the June 2 work sessions. 

Reverend Noble Williams with Community of Concerned Clergy said at the work session "we all want jobs, but have we set the bar so high for 19 months -- what other city managers haven't done in 15 and 20 years."

Director of Finance for Phenix City, Steve Smith, was since appointed Interim City Manager while the city made plans to find a permanent manager.

On June 2, Council member Jim Cannon made the motion to reinstate Hunter, and in another 3-2 vote with Cannon as the swing vote, the Council voted to rehire Hunter.

Cannon says this decision to rehire Hunter saves the tax payers of Phenix City more than $300,000.

Cannon explains that Hunter was one of several city employees under contract by the previous council, which stated that if they quit at any time during their term, they receive 6 months pay. If they were terminated, they got 12 months pay.

Under the new contract, Cannon says Hunter will not receive compensation if he quits, and only six months pay if he is terminated.

Council Members Chris Blackshear and Gail Head voted against rehiring Hunter. We spoke to Blackshear for his reaction following the meeting. He says majority has ruled and now it's time to move on.

"The main thing we have to do now is use this as a healing process and we've got to bridge the gap that obviously either has opened back up from the events of the last two weeks or that has been kind of masked over the last couple of years, but we definitely know we've got some work to do to unite this community together," Blackshear adds.

According to Cannon, Hunter stated himself that if he is still employed as City Manager at the end of the current Council's term, he will retire.

The term ends in September of 2016.

 

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