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Bailey town administrator resigns

Police chief pick turns down job

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After an impromptu closed session during Monday’s Bailey Board of Commissioners meeting, officials announced that Town Administrator Timothy Johnson would resign his post effective 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Instead of adjourning, commissioners decided to recess until Thursday in order to discuss next steps in replacing Johnson, who declined to discuss his future plans.

Johnson has served as town administrator since 2016 and previously served as Bailey’s mayor. He will receive 30 days pay and vacation. In addition to his duties as town administrator, Johnson also serves as the town’s chief financial officer and tax collector.

“It’s never dull around here,” Commissioner Allen Daniels said after the meeting.

During the meeting, interim Police Chief Gerald Coggin said Taylor Bartholomew decided to turn down the town’s offer for the top cop position, opting instead to keep his post with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office. Coggin said he has reposted the position and has received three inquiries so far. He hoped to work through the interview process in an expedient manner.

Coggin also said he was waiting on the paperwork for Kathy Callahan to begin as a full-time police officer. Callahan was hired in December along with Bartholomew.

During time reserved for public comments, Bailey resident Cecil Hawley lamented Commissioner Jerry Bissette’s continued absence from the town board meetings. Bissette has not returned since leaving midway through November’s meeting. It was at that meeting Mayor Thomas Richards switched him from police commissioner to water and sewer commissioner.

“He left, and I guess he’s not coming back,” Hawley said. “I don’t know why he’s not coming back, or if it’s a personal thing between him and Gerald (Coggin). He needs to resign, and get somebody else to fill that seat, a more dedicated person that wants to help this town move forward.”

Johnson said there is little recourse for residents should Bissette not return to his post unless Bissette offers a formal resignation, at which point another commissioner can be appointed to fill the remainder of his term. Bissette has one of three seats in play for the November town election.

In other business, after some discussion, the board decided to place an informal bid ad for contractors to move forward with the demolition of the dilapidated building on Main Street in local newspapers as well as online and on social media and review submitted proposals at 10 a.m. Feb. 15. The town previously was awarded a $100,000 grant to demolish the eyesore.

The board also approved a motion to grant $2,500 to the Bailey branch of Braswell Memorial Library.

Commissioners will resume the January meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the town hall.

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