The Smithfield Town Council is expected to formally approve a contract next week with interim town manager James W. Freeman. Freeman was named the interim on August 10th following a closed session. He will fill in until a permanent replacement is found following the firing of Paul Sabiston on August 4th.
According to Freeman’s contract, he will work an average of 24 hours per week for the Town of Smithfield and when not at the Town Hall will be available by phone for consultation.
Freeman will serve an initial term of 6 months but the contract can be extended or terminated before that time, based on when the new manager is hired. No severance pay will be given for the contract termination.
Freeman will be paid $60 per hour, not including travel time, but will receive $250.00 for each round trip he taken to and from his home in Troutman, NC to Smithfield, not to exceed once per week. Additionally, he will receive $100 per week for cell phone, local mileage and other incidentals. Work related travel more than 30 miles from the Smithfield city limits will be reimbursed at a rate of $0.575 per mile. The Town will reimburse motel lodging at $75.46 per night during the work week, or approximately 3 days per week.
Freeman will not receive any paid vacation or holidays, health care or life insurance benefits. The contract also prevents Freeman from filing a lawsuit against the Town for any legal reason.
The agreement stipulates that Freeman can not work more than 427 hours for the remainder of 2015, or earn more than $25,663 from the Town or it will adversely affect his retirement benefits.
Freeman served as town manager in Elizabethtown from 1980 to 2000, as city manager in Roxboro from 2000 to 2004, and in Havelock from 2005 to 2013. Freeman said he has retired from being a full-time manager but was available to help towns like Smithfield until they could find a permanent replacement.
The Smithfield Town Council will review the contract during their Tuesday, September 1st monthly meeting.