Mayor Defends $50 Hour Paid To Temp Worker

The Town of Archer Lodge is defending their decision to pay $50 an hour plus travel to a temporary office worker.  That worker is Cynthia Richardson.

Richardson was hired as Selma’s Town Clerk and Administrative Services Director on April 14, 2015 but resigned effective October 30, 2015 to accept a job as assistant director of the ABC Board in Nash County.  

However, four days before her final day with the Town of Selma, Richardson was hired as an “independent contractor” by the Town of Archer Lodge to provide services to Town Clerk Kim Batten, a former Town of Selma employee. Batten is now the Town Clerk and Finance Director for Archer Lodge.

The contract said Richardson “shall be entitled to set her own hours and (the) Town shall not control or dictate the hours of work done by Contractor.”  The contract was effective with a retroactive start date of October 26, 2015 and will expire on October 25, 2016. 

The contract, approved unanimously by the Archer Lodge Town Council on Monday night, agrees to pay Richardson $50 per hour plus mileage to the town hall on Buffalo Road from her residence in Castalia, NC.

Archer-Lodge-ImageArcher Lodge Administrative Consultant C.L. Gobble said Richardson was hired to help Batten “adjust to the role of Town Clerk, as Kim’s expertise is in the financial side. We want to be sure Kim is trained appropriately as Clerk.” 

As for her duties, Gobble said Richardson has been reviewing previous board minutes and preparing for the creation of a code book. 

“The rate is what she charged for her service,” Gobble said, noting her hiring was handled by Mayor Michael Gordon and Batten.  “She has a career of experience and was highly recommended.”

Mayor Gordon told WTSB News, “Ms. Richardson is much more than a temp worker. She has over 30 years in local government and town clerk experience.  The per hour rate is what she required to come on a short notice for consulting service, which is in line with most consultants. I needed someone to come in and make sure our records were in order, and to help Ms. Batten before her clerk school in January.” 

WTSB News checked with the County of Johnston to see what they pay for administrative support. The rate varies but is generally about $13.64 per hour.   

The Town of Smithfield is currently paying their interim town manager Jim Freeman $60 per hour.

Archer Lodge was incorporated in 2009.  Outside the town budget, as of Oct. 31st the town had $1,097,311.61 in a money market account.