Watson to manage Monroe

Former Union County Manager Mark Watson takes the oath of office for the city manager role March 14 as he is surrounded by family. Photo courtesy of City of Monroe

MONROE – The Monroe City Council voted to hire Mark Watson as its city manager on March 14, three months after he was fired from his county manager job.

The council’s vote was not unanimous. Gary Anderson, James Kerr, Lynn Keziah and Julie Thompson voted in favor. Freddie Gordon and Mayor Marion Holloway voted against the measure. 

Gordon said he didn’t believe the council followed proper procedure in recruiting a new manager since firing Brian Borne on Feb. 28. He said they not only didn’t ask for applications but they also haven’t received resumes or vetted any prospects.

“We are being asked to hire an individual who as been reported by his former employer, the County of Union, North Carolina, is under investigation for malfeasance,” Gordon said. “Although not completed, this gentleman has a human resources background – it defies logic. There is nothing to protect the city from this contract if this investigation were found valid.”

Gordon said the city has paid out millions of dollars to former managers and their replacements over the years. 

Keziah, who has served on the council for 41 years, disagreed with Gordon’s remarks.

“We got real lucky,” Keziah said. “The county made a bad mistake, freed up a good man, somebody that I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about. I think we’re lucky to have him. I look forward to his leadership. I wasn’t happy with the one we had. I thought he was power hungry.”

Watson’s compensation and benefits package includes a base salary of $200,000.

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