City leaders in Southport, North Carolina, recently bought a new building for their future City Hall. The landscaping company that was hired by the former building owners, however, is owned by Southport Alderman Buddy Barnes. They had signed a one-year contact with Barnes for landscape maintenance services.
When the property was purchased, Barnes wanted to know if the contract would still be valid. Southport City Manager Pat Thomas informed him that the board would have to vote on the contract transfer. In an email sent by Barnes to Thomas, he said that he would lose $1,400 if the contract didn't transfer over from the original owners.
Now, Barnes said there's so much controversy over the contract that he doesn't care about the three months of work and pay anymore. He wants the issue dropped, because people are making too much fuss over it.
According to state statues, a public official can be employed by a city with less than 15,000 people, as long as there is transparency and city leaders sign off on it.