The Union County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 yesterday to terminate County Manager Mark Watson and appoint Assistant Manager Brian Matthews as interim county manager. 

Stony Rushing and newly sworn-in commissioners Melissa Merrell and Brian Helms voted as the majority. 

Richard Helms said the decision was predetermined and the other commissioners were not consulted until two minutes before they returned from closed session.

"This is one day I'll remember being ashamed to sit on this board," Helms said. "I've been here for 10 years. We have accomplished a lot the last four years. We've had economic growth, we've had employee growth and we've been proud of it. As I said, it's a very sad day and I'm ashamed."

Rushing, who was on the outs of the last board, now chairs the board. 

He vowed to repair the county's relationship with Union County Public Schools and fix problems with Union County Public Works. 

He also lamented recent water and sewer hikes and said commissioners would be wise with taxpayer dollars. 

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