BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The public works director in Boiling Spring Lakes has been voted out of the position.
After a heated public meeting that featured yelling, swearing, and name calling, Larry Modlin's position was eliminated with a 3-2 vote.
The meeting was initially called to discuss the possibility of creating a new City Engineer/Project Manager position.
Commissioner David Putnam brought the idea to the Board of Commissioners -- hoping to hire someone with an engineering background to work on some of the city's storm water and flooding issues throughout town.
Commissioner Mike Forte, Mayor Craig Caster and several residents were surprised when Putnam's motion also included the termination of Modlin's position. Commissioners Mary Stillwell and Barbara Glidden supported Putnam's motion and joined him in the vote to eliminate Modlin's position. Mayor Caster and Commissioner Forte voted against the motion.
"I was embarrassed, I was disgusted, It was dirty politics," said Forte. "It came off like a public lynching."
Mayor Craig Caster said during the meeting that this was the worst decision the Board of Commissioners have made in his lifetime.
The City of Boiling Spring Lakes has already voted to spend approximately $50,000 to hire an outside engineering firm from Raleigh to study flooding issues along Holly Drive, Redwood Road, and Crab Apple Road as well as investigate the water level issues at Spring Lake.
Ricky Rygg lives on Holly Road. He's been in the middle of an ongoing battle with city leaders for years -- asking for help with constant flooding problems in his back yard. Rygg was supportive of the board's decision.
"I hate for anyone to lose their job in today's economy. I wish him all the best," said Rygg. "But as long as they get somebody qualified to come in and do a good job, it doesn't matter to me."
Other residents, like Helen Crockett were blind sided by the board's decision. Crockett says the move doesn't make sense financially.
"They're not going to get an engineer for the money they're paying him, nor will they be able to get somebody to come in here and do the work," said Crockett. "I don't know Larry personally, but my heart goes out to him."
Modlin had an annual salary of $63,301 per year. The new position will have an advertised salary between $64,000-$92,000, however the scope of the work for the new position has not been negotiated.
Modlin's position is terminated effective immediately, however he will receive severance package benefits until June 30, 2014.