A heated budget debate following tonight’s public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 budget may be leading to the resignation of Sampson County manager Ed Causey.
Commissioners and Causey, along with county attorney Joel Starling, are currently behind closed doors, a meeting urgently called for by Commissioners chairman Jefferson Strickland.
It began after Commissioner Albert Kirby directed Causey to put together two alternate budget proposals — one with no tax increase, the other with a 3 percent as opposed to the proposed 9 cent tax hike currently on the table. Kirby put that in the form of a motion, one that was quickly seconded by Commissioner Harry Parker.
Responding, Causey said he was willing to do as directed, but he stressed that he felt a hold-the-line budget could not be accomplished without sending “at least one-third of your workforce home.”
After further heated talks between commissioners, Strickland called for a vote. It was 2-2 with Commissioner Jarvis McLamb not casting a vote either way. That non-action, Starling said, becomes a vote in the affirmative.
At that point, Causey stated “your vote has confirmed my resignation.”
Murmurs could be heard in the crowd as Strickland jumped to his feet and called for the closed session.
See updates as they happen.