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Another city official resigns

jonathan boone.jpg

Jonathan Boone

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Add the longtime public works director to the department head exodus under Rocky Mount City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney.

Jonathan Boone, the city's director of Public Works and Water Resources, tendered his resignation Monday. He will leave Feb. 1 for a lesser paying position with Nash County.

“I'm appreciative of all the opportunities the city has afforded me over the last 20 years,” Boone said. “I wish the best for fellow employees I'm leaving behind at the city.”

Boone is one of half a dozen department heads to exit stage left since Small-Toney took charge in July 2017. That list includes:

■ Darlana Moore, the city's internal auditor, hired in March 2012, left in October 2017. Moore is now the director of internal audit for Durham County.

■ Ken Graves, the city's director of development services, hired in June 2003, left in October 2017. Graves is now an assistant city manager in Greenville.

■ Tasha Logan Ford, one of two assistant city managers, hired in May 2013, left in January 2018. Logan Ford is now assistant city manager in Winston-Salem.

■ Thomas Moton, one of two assistant city managers, hired in September 2014, left in March 2018. Moton is now a deputy city manager in Wilmington.

■ John Jesso, the city's downtown development manager, hired in May 2014, left in October 2018. His current employment wasn't immediately available. Jesso settled a possible lawsuit and claim of discrimination with the city for $40,000. The details of the deal aren't public.

■ James Moore, chief of police, hired in January 2012, left in January 2018. Moore is retired. Moore's leaving coincides with Telegram articles revealing he underrepresented crime statistics. A search for a permanent police chief was restarted late last year with $27,000 already spent.

■ Kellianne Davis wasn't a department head, but she was a member of the city's senior leadership as community development manager. Davis and four other employees in her department have left the city. They reported to Landis Faulcon, a Small-Toney friend who took a job in January 2018 created for her in November 2017.

Small-Toney and Faulcon worked together in Savannah, Ga. Small-Toney was forced to leave over allegations of fiscal mismanagement. One of the issues she was reprimanded for by the Savannah City Council was the complete turnover of employees in the purchasing department. History repeated itself when Davis and the four other employees in Faulcon's department all departed city employment within five months of Faulcon coming aboard as the director of Community and Business Development.

■ Kelvin Yarrell, the city's parks director since 2013, was demoted to supervisor of cemetery maintenance in October. To take his place, Small-Toney hired her friend Selma Town Manager Elton Daniels to begin Feb. 18 with an annual salary of $130,000. Yarrell was earning around $90,000 for the job.

According to the city's compensation policy, the position has a minimum pay rate of $88,848.64, a midpoint of $111,060.82 and maximum of $133,272.98. Daniels' pay will be above the midpoint and close to the maximum.

The policy states that when the city manager determines there's a demonstrated inability to recruit at the minimum salary or an applicant possesses exceptional qualifications, the city manager may authorize the employment of an applicant at a higher rate than the minimum in the pay range.

There hasn't been a demonstrated inability to recruit employees for the position and Daniels doesn't posses exceptional qualifications to be parks director. Most of the employees who left were pushed out to make room for friends of Small-Toney or left because of the negative atmosphere and low employee morale she has fostered, according to a growing number of sources within City Hall.

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