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Fuquay-Varina Places Town Manager On Administrative Leave

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FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. — The town of Fuquay-Varina is caught up in another scandal.

First, the police department was involved in one. Now, the town manager is in hot water.

Officials are keeping tight-lipped. But, in a hastily-called meeting, Fuquay-Varina town commissioners met behind closed doors to discuss legal claims against town manager John Ellis.

Wednesday, Ellis was being paid. But he was not working.

"What I will say is that he's been placed on administrative leave, and that I have no further comment at this time," Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne said.

Neither Byrne nor any of the commissioners would comment on the nature of the claims. But the town attorney felt they warranted immediate action.

Tuesday's meeting was called at the last minute. The town is required by law to give six hours public notice. In this case, the meeting was called at 10 a.m., and it was held nine hours later.

This is the second scandal to hit Fuquay-Varina in less than a year. Last fall, two police officers resigned over alleged misconduct, and another officer filed a discrimination complaint.

The chief retired, and the town still has not hired a new one.

As for Ellis, the town attorney said he will work with the board to discuss a course of action. Town officials said they want the situation resolved quickly.

Ellis had no comment Wednesday. Before he became town manager, he was mayor. He probably is best known for unseating former mayor Bob Barker, who sued over voting irregularities and lost.

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