Within the Town of Matthews Government the Town Manager and Town Attorney are the only two position’s that are under contract.
On April 28, 2003 the Town of Matthews made and entered into a agreement with our Town Manager Hazen Blodgett. Mr. Blodgett’s beginning annual salary in 2003 was $79,000.00. He has now been employed by the Town for thirteen years and has received a salary increase every year except in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he received an economic recovery stipend in the amount of $1,750.00. Over the years salary increases have included 2.98% – 3.14% – 3.25% – 5.2% – 5.5% but the largest salary increase was in 2007 with an increase of 5.58%. On September 26, 2016 the Town Council approved an increase of 3.1% bringing his current salary to $135,000.00 from $131,000.00 and was retroactive to July 1, 2016. This is a $4,000.00 dollar increase and he also receives a monthly automobile allowance of $350.00, $85.00 monthly cell phone allowance, vacation, sick leave, insurance – State Health Plan – BCBS – enhanced 80/20 for employee/child(ren) – employer contribution per month $611.04 (increased from 2015) employee $147.36 (decreased from 2015), dental , life, civic club memberships, 5% of salary contribution to 401K, 7.34% of salary contributed to Local Government retirement, professional dues and subscriptions, professional and official travel, indemnification and bonding. In 2003 the he received relocation expenses and mortgage expenses of $843.00 for twelve (12) months or until his home in Whiteville NC sold.
So remember in June/July when the yearly Town Budget has been submitted by Mr. Blodgett, who decides if our taxes need to be increased, has also budgeted for his salary increase.
Just like the Town Manager once a year the Town Council either denies or approves the contract of our Town Attorney Charles Buckley. On June 27, 2016 the Council approved a increase bringing his hourly rate to $205.00 per hour for legal services that may be requested by the Board of Commissioners. Town Attorney Contract 2016-2017 Within Mr. Buckley’s contract is a $1,500.00 retainer that is billed to the Town of Matthews by the Law Firm of Cranford, Buckley, Schultze, Tomchin, Allen and Buie for which Mr. Buckley is to attend the Board of Commissioners meetings (two a month), provide telephone and e-mail consultations’s for all elected and appointed officials and employees. He also attends the yearly Winter and Summer North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorney’s conferences (NCAMA) which are paid in full by the citizens of Matthews. On August 4th thru 6th the 2016 NCAMA Summer Conference was held in Asheville NC costing the citizens $1,163.74 for a three day two night event and this does not include his hourly rate of $205.00 per hour.
I recently requested copies of billing invoices submitted by Mr. Buckley and was surprised to learn the Town does not require him to provide the exact breakdown of hours spent and amount charged for each individual matter billed for. Instead Mr. Buckley just submits a total amount due. If the Town needed to know exactly how much was spent on one particular item then this could not be answered. The Town is required to keep accurate records and when asked the Town feels this is sufficient. So, they just pay the bill no questions asked. Normal protocol for attorneys in records keeping is to keep account for hours spent and amount charged each individual matter billed for.
Mr. Buckley continues to quote the March 25, 1985 resolution that Matthews claims has pulled Home Place into the town maintained system. February 22, 2016 “Mr. Buckley explained that the case itself did not rule that it was a private road – only that a portion of the property belonged to the Wrights. The order applies only to that portion of Home Place.” According to the North Carolina Court of Appeals (NCCOA) the resolution was invalid. December 16, 2008 North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling “Here, the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Matthews adopted a resolution nunc pro tunc 25 March 1985 to add Home Place to the Town’s street system. This amounts to a retroactive resolution to change the street system previously imposed and is thus invalid. Therefore, this resolution does not preclude the adjudication of Home Place as a private road.” Also, if Home Place (excluding the Wrights property) is Town owned as the Town continue’s to claim then how can the property owners along Home Place sell a needed easement to CMUD? The right-of-way would already be owned by the Town.
Black Law Dictionary: nunc pro tunc – Latin “now for then”
For over ten years under Mr. Buckley’s guidance the Town of Matthews pursued the Wright case (aka Home Place) costing the citizens $232,488.78 from 2011 thru 2016 and from 2006 thru 2010 the Town is unable to account for any amount spent, that’s six years people. $86,456.66 of this amount was paid to the law firm of Cranford, Buckley, Schultze, Tomchin, Allen and Buie. $71,462.12 for miscellaneous expenses and the hiring of two different law firms to aid and represent the Town. In 2015 $74,570.00 was paid to the Wrights as ordered by the court. We were all mislead by the Town and in 2013 Judge Beal placed an injunction upon the Town of Matthews, in 2014 Judge Bridges ruled that the Town cannot condemn property for well-connected individuals of Matthews which was confirmed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2015.
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