The Lincolnton City Council decided Thursday evening to not pursue allegations from an anonymous source that claimed City Manager Jeff Emory was receiving personal gifts in exchange for awarding contracts to a vendor.
The decision to not look further into the claims came with a 3-1 vote, with council member Devin Rhyne opposing.
As the Times-News previously reported, a closed session was scheduled during Thursday’s meeting to “discuss personnel,” though city officials could not confirm in advance specifically what the session was regarding.
Lincolnton Mayor John Gilleland had told the Times-News earlier this week that an internal investigation was looking into the matter, which arose when an anonymous package containing an unsigned letter and photocopied Carolina Panthers football and NASCAR race tickets on Pease Engineering & Architecture letterhead was sent to council members last month.
In the letter, the writer claimed that Emory had illegally received the tickets from Charlotte-based Pease, who has performed contract work as a direct vendor for the city. However, the documents did not provide evidence linking Emory to the tickets.
Rhyne told the Times-News that though he didn’t know who sent the letter, he hoped the information would be “handled correctly.”
When asked for comment Tuesday, Emory told the Times-News he would not respond to an anonymous complaint.
In other City Council action:
Council members unanimously approved an application from Paul Burgess for a conditional-use permit to operate an indoor auction house in the planned-business district. The subject property is located on the west side of Center Drive, roughly 100 feet south of the intersection with East Gaston Street. Burgess plans to convert the former bowling alley into an auction house, while using the former car wash structure for accessory storage purposes. He will also be required to fix the potholes on Center Drive near the site.
Council members unanimously approved the awarding of chemical bids for the Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant for fiscal year 2012-2013.
Council members were presented an “official budget message” on the proposed fiscal year 2012-2013 budget by Emory, with no action required. They will next meet for a budget work session on May 14.
Human Resource Director Tina Hurdt presented the council with proposed changes to the city’s Wellness Plan. However, the council decided to delay taking action on the matter until the May 14 work session, with Rhyne requesting feedback from city employees on the proposed plan before voting.