Local News

Calls Continue For Durham City Manager's Resignation Or Firing

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DURHAM, N.C. — Eighteen months into her job as city manager, Marcia Conner finds herself in the line of fire. The long, drawn-out search for a police chief and now the questionable handling of several contracts have raised eyebrows among Durham residents.

"It's getting kind of overwhelming, especially with the phone calls at work and the e-mails," city councilman John Best said.

Council members have been bombarded with letters concerning Conner's performance. This week, they received two anonymous e-mails from a group claiming to represent hundreds of angry city employees. In one of the e-mails, it states workers are "mad, disgusted, and fed up."

Workers WRAL talked with said they did not know who wrote the letters. In a statement, Conner said it is difficult to respond to anonymous letters. She said in the statement, "I can certainly understand though, given the press attention on recent matters, how some employees might be feeling."

Later on Wednesday, Conner had little to add.

"I'm trying to stay focused. Hey, work has to be done, and I need to continue to work," Conner said.

Guy Reylek, who wrote council members this week, said there have been too many mistakes during Conner's watch.

"The damage is done. The credibility gap is there. This town deserves more," he said. "It doesn't seem fair to the city of Durham and the people who live here to be burdened with someone who didn't do the job the way she's expected to."

Council members will meet with Conner behind closed doors next Monday. The City Council can fire Conner at any time, but they will have to pay nine months severance pay if they do it without cause. If the City Council can prove incompetence, then no payment will be required.


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