Editorial: Post Employment Dinner For Former Manager

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 14 November 2018 19:51

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

When four of your five bosses vote to terminate the employment contract for your boss, former Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer, is it a good idea to take the Town's credit card and hold a "Post Employment Dinner"?

Not a tremendous amount of money. $312.98. Yet all purchases using a Town of Carolina Beach credit card above $200 must have prior approval, for good reason, fiscal responsibility and accountability.

On September 25th the Town Council voted four to one to terminate the employment contract with Town Manager Michael Cramer amid their apparent dissatisfaction with his management skills.

To be fair, the Council didn't publicly explain their decision, but did terminate Cramer's employment contract and had to pay him approximately $73,000 in severance pay to send him on his way. That's not a move that's typically followed with a "Post Employment Dinner".

Gil DuBois, Public Director of Operations, is in charge of the Water and Sewer Administrative budget from which the funds were spent.

A credit card issued to Dubois department was used to purchase $312.98 of food from a local restaurant later in October to hold a "Post Employment Dinner" as described on a Town purchase order transaction.

When the expense was sent to the Town's Finance Officer, Debbie Hall, she stamped it as "Denied" because all expenses above $200 must have prior approval.

Hall later explained the card was taken back to the restaurant that prepared the food and they credited the charge back to the card.

No Town funds were ultimately spent on the event that was supposed to host 30 people.

When asked about the use of the Town's credit card to purchase the food, Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin said, "It was poor judgement."

Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "Bad judgement. Inappropriate" and, "Unacceptable."

One can understand another employee's desire to hold a party to wish their former boss farewell and a positive future, but doing so at the expense of the taxpayers - and without the knowledge of Council members - is a violation of the Town's Code of Ordinances and quite frankly, poor judgement.

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