Oak Island town manager terminated, has yet to see compensation

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - The recent termination of Jerry Walters as Town Manager for Oak Island could be prove to be a costly move for the newly-seated town council.

Council voted 4-1 on December 13 to end the contract of Walters immediately.  Chad Hicks took over as interim Town Manager.

WECT.com obtained a copy of Walters' employment contract, which states that should he be terminated prior to the expiration of his contract, the town agrees to pay him either a lump sum cash payment equal to a year's salary or a year's salary broken down into 12 monthly payments.  Walters is also entitled to any accumulated vacation and a year's worth of benefits.

As of Wednesday morning, Walters had yet to receive compensation from the town.  He has only received compensation for time worked and vacation time earned.  According to Mayor Betty Wallace, the compensation is an issue for town council to decide, but no date has been set to discuss payment.

Walters made $114,154 as town manager.  He entered into the deal on March 8th of this year and was due for his first employee review under this deal in February 2012.  The contract was set to expire in August 2014.

The only exception to this payout for Walters would be if he had been convicted of any criminal act.  In that situation, the town would not have been obligated to pay him anything.

Council indicated in its vote earlier this month they were going in a new direction for that position.  They did not expand on the decision to terminate him.

The decision on whether to take the lump sum payment or monthly payments is up to Walters.

WECT recently learned that the SBI has launched an investigation looking into cost overruns as well as investigating allegations of corruption inside the town. No charges have been filed at this time and Mr. Walters has not been specifically named as a target of any investigation.

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