Council spars over Tryon manager firing

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tryon’s Town Council meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 19 made it clear council members are not united on whether firing town manager Caitlin Martin was the right decision.

Mayor Alan Peoples began comments by saying there had been a lot of changes in the last few weeks and “a lot of us are unhappy. I’ll leave it at that.”

Comments mostly came from commissioners George Baker and Roy Miller with both reserving their time to speak for the end of the meeting, but Baker kept insisting he would have the last word.

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“We’ve recently gone through some trauma in this town,” said Baker.

He said he has terminated people before but never felt this way.

“We recently terminated a young lady and I felt filthy,” said Baker.

He said he sat in the closed session meeting and there wasn’t “a damn reason” that came out as to why she was fired.

“As far as what was said in the newspaper…’going in a different direction,’” Baker said. “That was never said in the meeting.”

He continued to say that it was a “filthy, nasty thing that happened,” to someone he felt could have been a star.

“She will survive,” Baker said. “I’m not sure the town will. I know for a fact that no one gave her an evaluation or review.”

Miller replied that Martin isn’t the first manager Tryon has not given an evaluation to before firing. He said as long as the majority of the board votes, “that’s how business is done.”

“It’s a difference of opinion,” Miller said. “Hopefully we’ll move on.”

Miller continued by saying he’s had some pretty tough decisions with previous board members, but said they came back and worked on behalf of the citizens.

“I’ve been here nine years and never had a disagreement I couldn’t move on from,” Miller said. “We’re all grown men and women. (This is) nothing to spew hate for.”

He told residents in the audience when election time comes to use the power of their vote.

Baker responded that no one will ever accuse him of not working for the board, mentioning that earlier Tuesday he met Miller at the cemetery for town business.

“I do not forget and I do not forgive,” Baker said. “That was disgusting.”

The discussion took a break for a few minutes during citizen comments on other issues until resident Steve King stood to say he didn’t get to go to the last meeting when Martin was fired, but he’s “embarrassed for this town for what you did.”

“It seems appalling to me,” said King. “I cannot believe you guys can do that kind of work in a town that’s open.”