Wayne Herron has resigned as Monroe's city manager after more than three years on the job.
City officials confirmed Wednesday that Herron resigned at the end of Tuesday night's Monroe City Council meeting. Two assistant city managers have been appointed to run government operations until a replacement is hired.
Herron's resignation letter said he is stepping down in accordance with a section in his contract that says if the employee resigns following an offer to accept (his) resignation ... then the employee may declare a termination as of the date of the suggestion.
Herron's resignation is effective as of Tuesday, his letter says.
Herron did not give a reason for leaving and didn't return a call to his home seeking comment. City officials said the resignation wasn't forced and didn't stem from disagreements.
He was not forced out for anything like that, and that's the fact. Absolutely not, Monroe Mayor Bobby Kilgore said before hanging up the phone.
Herron had come under criticism from some Monroe residents for recommending against a $3,000 performance bonus for Police Chief Debra Duncan. In a 4-3 vote last month, the council rejected a proposal to award the bonus to Duncan. Several council members said their vote against the bonus was based on Herron's recommendation.
At the time, Herron said he felt the bonus was excessive, especially because city workers have gone without bonuses during the recession.
But in recent weeks, WSOC-TV has reported that Herron awarded pay bonuses to some other city officials during the recession without alerting council members.
Those bonuses to nearly a dozen city employees totaled thousands of dollars, the station reported. The city attorney received a bonus check for $4,375, and the city's director of energy services has been awarded more than $12,000 since 2008, WSOC found.
City councilwoman Dottie Nash said she didn't hear of Herron's resignation until Wednesday morning. She said she knew some employees received bonus payments but said she didn't realize there were so many.
But she added: To my knowledge, that's not the reason he resigned.
City councilwoman Margaret Desio praised Herron's service and said his absence will be felt.
The majority of the City Council is very saddened by his leaving, she said. He is a fine man, and he was an excellent city manager.
She said he did not give the requisite 30 days notice for resignation. I guess it was a special circumstance, she said.
Herron was hired as planning service manager in 2001 and was promoted to assistant city manager in 2008. He became city manager in April 2009. His salary was about $150,000.