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SELMA – Members of the Selma Town Council will hold a special called meeting Thursday, July 30th to discuss the fate of Town Manager Steven Hicks. Hicks was hired just nine months ago.
According to sources, the meeting is the culmination of a series of events that took place earlier this week between members of the Selma Town Council. The Council had advertised they would meet in closed session Monday, July 27th for personnel reasons. Sources say the only topic of discussion was the appraisal of the town manager’s work. During the two-hour closed meeting, some council members reportedly discussed alleged problems with Hick’s performance, while others discussed his accomplishments and praised his work. Hick’s was not present.
The meeting was recessed until Tuesday, July 28th with Mr. Hicks in attendance. Before the meeting ended, Councilman Byron McAllister reportedly made a motion to ask for Hick’s resignation. The motion was rejected by Mayor Cheryl Oliver citing state law regarding special session meetings which only allows announced topics in public postings to be considered and voted on.
Late-Tuesday, Councilman McAllister allegedly called the town manager and offered him a deal – to voluntarily resign and receive one month of severance pay or be fired. Hicks reportedly did not respond to the request. Under his employment contract, Hicks is entitled to 90 days notice of termination and a severance payment equal to 3 months salary, or a total of six months of his annual salary.
Being unsuccessful in obtaining Mr. Hick’s voluntary resignation, Councilman McAllister then called for a special council meeting Thursday, July 30th at 5:30pm to discuss the town manager’s employment contract.
Sources indicate Councilman McAllister has the necessary votes to terminate Mr. Hicks.
This is not the first time Councilman McAllister has reportedly tried to oust the manager. He reportedly attempted to get the council to terminate Hick’s contract during a January meeting. At the time, McAllister did not have enough votes to support his efforts.
Reached by telephone today, Mr. Hicks told Johnston County Report he was aware of the meeting but said, “At this time I don’t know the details.”
Steven Hicks is the fourth person to serve as town manager for the Town of Selma in the past four years. His current annual salary is $120,000.
Mr. Hicks holds a degree in engineering and has been helping Selma make improvements to city water, sewer and public works issues since being hired. Currently, he is leading efforts to begin the Golden Leaf project for the Town, which will use grant funds in excess of $800,000 – starting in two weeks – to repair a number of outdated sewer lines. In addition, Mr. Hicks holds a federal security clearance.
Hicks was hired in October 2019 to replace former Selma Town Manager Elton Daniels who resigned in February 2019 to accept a job with the City of Rocky Mount. Daniels had served just 18 months. Hicks was previously the Director of General Services for Durham, NC. Prior to his position in Durham, Mr. Hicks served as Director of Public Works and Utilities for Petersburg, Virginia and Acting Assistant County Manager for James City County, Virginia. He has over 25 years of State and Local Government experience.