OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) – Former Oak Island Town Manager Jerry Walters released a statement Friday morning through his attorney to explain why his is suing the town.
Walters' statement reads:
The Town of Oak Island and Jerry Walters had an enforceable contract that provided Mr. Walters a severance package if he were terminated before August 2014. Mr. Walters has asked the Town to honor its agreement, to no avail, and regrets that litigation has become necessary. Mr. Walters seeks no more than for the Town of Oak Island to meet its contractual obligations.
Walters was terminated last year by a 4 -1 vote, with Councilwomen Dara Royal casting the only opposing vote.
According to Walter's employment contract, if he is terminated prior to the expiration of his agreement, the town will 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 equaling $116,000.
Walters wrote a letter to members of the town council saying the town attorney approached him on behalf of Council Member Medlin to discuss a resignation and departure from Oak Island. Walters also wrote he elected to collect the lump sum payout as written in his contract.
The lawsuit says Walters has made verbal and written requests for payment, but has only received $11,000 for accrued vacation time and $3,000 for time worked in December.
In January of 2012, Interim Town Manager Chad Hicks prepared documents for the Town Council to vote on that would have paid Walters the money he was owed. Councilwoman Royal made a motion to approve the contract that would have paid Walters, but no one else on council seconded it.
The issue of paying Walters has not come back up in any public meetings since.
Mayor Betty Wallace responded to the lawsuit in the following email to WECT.com on Friday:
I NEVER want to say "no comment", but in cases of litigation like this, we of course are advised by our attorney to avoid individual comments or opinions. Council was made aware when Mr. Walters retained counsel, so of course the lawsuit was not unexpected. Sorry I can't say anything further than that.
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