The big bombshell this week at Davidson Town Hall was the Wednesday announcement of the pending resignation of long, long, loooooong time Town Attorney, Rick Kline. Kline has served in that capacity for nearly 40 years, but suddenly and with not much fanfare the town put out notice of his pending resignation.
From the press release:
"Rick Kline has announced to the Davidson Mayor and Board of Commissioners that he intends to resign his position as Davidson Town Attorney. The Davidson Mayor and Board of Commissioners have asked Rick to continue to serve as their legal counsel until they can find a suitable successor. The search process could take several months and the mayor and commissioners want to include the new town manager, a position that has not yet been filled, in the process. Rick has agreed to help in the transition to the new Town Attorney."
According to the town's Public Information Officer, Christina Shaul, there was no resignation letter and Mr Kline came to this decision on his own.
HOWEVER, readers should be reminded that just a little over two months ago approval of a new engagement letter for Mr Kline's services appeared on the consent agenda of Davidson's July Town Board Meeting.
Per emails from town hall, prior to the meeting Commissioner Cashion asked to have the engagement letter pulled from the agenda for further discussion amongst the board and no one disagreed with her request. This is interesting because it raises questions about how it got on the consent agenda in the first place. Items on this part of the agenda are supposed to be completely non-controversial. That's what it's called the "consent" agenda.
The town had been operating without a net for a long time with this situation. Per another earlier request, no formal contract or even an engagement letter letter had been in place for the town attorney position. Yet, the job paid roughly $50,000 per year and sometimes more. For example Kline received a 50% bump last year for his work in reviewing the updated planning ordinance. (You know, the one that passed with a number of holes in it.). We do know that Kline's expenses did not cover litigation efforts however - meaning when the town got itself into legal trouble, presumably after following his advise, Kline did not have to cover the costs of getting the town out of those situations.
$50,000 per year with no written contract and no real accountability when things went sideways - a pretty sweet gig if you can get it.
So, why would Mr Kline "resign"? That's the question.
Could it be that the Board finally wanted those things and that was just too much to bear?