The Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to renew Town Manager Roger Stancil’s contract until 2017 and give him a raise.
The vote followed a September petition from a group of 10 residents who questioned Stancil’s management of taxpayer dollars. The group asked the council to consider their concerns and called on Stancil to explain his actions and outline a performance improvement plan.
Stancil will get the same 3 percent raise all town employees got this year, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said.
The council spent only part of its nearly four-hour closed meeting on the manager’s scheduled evaluation, he said. He called it a “high-quality conversation” about personnel, responsiveness and other issues but declined to elaborate.
The council can discuss personnel matters in closed meetings, under state law, but any votes must be public.
The residents’ petition asked the council to consider several allegations, including ballooning consultant fees and an averted plan to build a road as part of an East West Partners apartment project on Elliott Road. When questions were raised about the latter, developer Roger Perry said his company would build the road.
The petition also said the town manager’s administrative budget had risen 45 percent over five years, while money for repairing streets and replacing aging town vehicles decreased by more than 25 percent, and other departments, including fire, police and public works, saw their share of the budget stagnate or decline.
Stancil responded to the allegations point by point within a few days of receiving the petition ( bit.ly/1rm9VQa). He said his job is to do what the council tells him and noted Chapel Hill has had successful audits by independent experts and a top AAA bond rating for several years.
Ridgefield resident David Schwartz, who signed the petition, said the council’s decision isn’t a surprise.
The petitioners are more interested in seeing a change in how the town’s affairs are managed and its budget priorities, he said. The petition was not meant to accuse Stancil of fraud or recklessness, he and other residents said.
“We don’t know what was discussed during the performance evaluation, and state law prevents us from knowing,” Schwartz said Tuesday, “but we hope that the Town Council members directed Mr. Stancil to ensure more prudent management of our tax dollars, better management of the town’s growth and development, and greater attention to problems such as traffic congestion and watershed protection.
“If we see no improvement in these areas over the coming year, then the town residents will have yet another reason to elect a new mayor and new council members in 2015.”