Hope Mills under new management after town manager resigns unexpectedly
HOPE MILLS — The town manager for Hope Mills resigned Monday, Mayor Jackie Warner announced after a brief closed session of the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners.
"This evening our town manager Scott Meszaros has officially resigned, and we have accepted his resignation and at this time we are appointing our economic development planner, Chancer McLaughlin, in the interim manager position until such time as we can go through the process to hire a town manager," Warner said at Monday night's meeting.
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According to a Tuesday news release, Meszaros resigned his position “effective immediately.” The reason for his departure was not stated.
Attempts to reach Meszaros by phone and through his social media page was not successful Tuesday.
According to town minutes, Meszaros was sworn in as town manager June 7, 2021. Former town Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers said at the time that the board consulted with the League of Municipalities and interviewed candidates on their own, saving residents about $28,000 in fees because they didn’t use a consultant or search firm for the hiring process.
According to Alaska Public Radio Station KDLL, Meszaros was fired from the town of Seward, Alaska, in October 2020 for reasons unknown. Meszaros told the radio station that the termination came out of the blue and indicated he thought there were conflicts of interest on the city council and said his vision for updating city infrastructure was not the priority of the council.
“It’s time to go somewhere else where I can actually use my skill set," he told the station.
The Seward Journal reported that Meszaros had submitted an application in another Alaskan town about three months prior to his termination.
On April 16, 2021, the Chardon City Council in Nebraska, announced that it had picked Meszaros to be its next city manager, according to the Sandhills Express and NBC Nebraska, but Meszaros withdrew his application the next day after failing to reach a salary agreement, according to News Channel Nebraska.
A Fayetteville Observer records request in September 2021 showed that Meszaros was paid $125,000 annually in Hope Mills, and this past November the board unanimously agreed to amend his contract by increasing his salary b $5,000.
Meszaros has worked in municipal government since 2005 and served as a town board trustee in Monument, Colorado, from 2003 to 2005, according to his LinkedIn page.
McLaughlin is a North Carolina native who has been with the town since 2015. He is a former project manager for Greensboro and was a community development planner for Atlanta. the release said.
According to the news release, McLaughlin is “heavily involved with the community” by serving as a board member at Actions Pathways, the Salvation Army of the Sandhills Region and the Arts Council of Fayetteville.
"Going forward, I appreciate the trust of confidence, and I will proceed with a very clear version of transparency between our board and our staff," McLaughlin told the Hope Mills Board on Monday night.
Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-486-3528.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Hope Mills town manager resigns