New Hanover County Clerk to the Board Sheila Schult announced her resignation Monday. According to her contract, the county is projected to owe her more than $60,000.
While a typical county employee who resigns is not owed any severance, Schult resigned after a majority of the board suggested she leave. This triggered a provision in her contract which allowed her to be classified as a terminated employee, allowing her to collect severance.
The terms of Schult's contract call for her to stay on the county's pay roll for the next six months while collecting her annual salary of $76,741. In addition, Schult will also continue to collect her yearly in county auto allowance of $2,700 a year. In all, the county is projected to owe Schultz $60,235.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said it was time for Schult to go in a different direction. He said the majority of the board felt it was necessary to give Schult the option to resign or be fired.
In a statement released by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, a majority expressed concerns of Schult's ability to serve the board effectively.
As clerk to the board, Schult was the record keeper of the county. She sent out public notices on behalf of the commissioners and kept track of county and board documents.
If Schult accepts a new job within six months that pays less than her current salary, the county will pay the difference.
Schult's resignation is effective immediately. She told WECT by phone Wednesday that she received an excellent performance review in July of 2013, and has not received one word of concern from the commissioners since that time about how she is doing her job.
Schult said she was concerned that the board did not call a formal closed session meeting to discuss her employment. Instead, a county spokesperson says three of the commissioners contacted the county manager individually to express their desire that she resign.
Had Schult refused to resign, Commissioner Woody White said they would have called a closed session meeting Monday night. Since she resigned, that was no longer necessary.
Schult said she was not ready to go on the record yet about why she thinks she was pushed out, but she was planning to release more details within the next week. She submitted this letter Monday:
To Whom It May Concern:
Trusting that God is ultimately in control of my life, and the life of my family, it is with a great sense of relief and clear conscience, that I tender my resignation, effective immediately, as Clerk to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.
As relayed to me by County Manager Chris Coudriet, as requested by Chairman White and Commissioners Barfield and Wolfe, my resignation is tendered per Section 3,Paragraph A and B of my employment agreement dated July 15, 2013.
Pursuant to North Carolina law, the clerk, the manager, and the attorney serve at the pleasure of the Board of Commissioners.
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