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No Word Yet On Durham City Manager's Future

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DURHAM, N.C. — After a day-long closed-door session, there is still no word on the fate of Marcia Conner.

The Durham city manager met with Durham City Council members Thursday morning for her final annual evaluation. Late in the afternoon, council members broke from their discussion and went into a public work session. However, they plan to resume their deliberations on Conner later Thursday night.

Conner has been operating under a microscope since 2002. She came under fire for a lengthy police chief search, then drew sharp criticism for the questionable handling of city contracts.

The City Council cut her pay and Conner has been subject to monthly reviews.

Councilmember Howard Clement is one of Conner's biggest supporters.

"She is a tough, smart, brave, courageous woman," Clement said.

He said Conner's critics are off-base.

"It is so unfair, unjust, inequitable," Clement said.

The issue of Conner's job performance has divided the council, but all agree they want the situation resolved.

Councilmembers Eugene Brown and John Best have been vocal in their call for the city manager to step down.

Thursday morning, Best said he will not back down from his opinion.

Last month, a group of residents launched renewed effort to get rid of Conner. Dozens of people presented the council with 7,000 signatures demanding her resignation.

In order to get rid of Conner, the council would need four votes asking for her resignation. If council members decide to remove Conner, the city may have to pay her $150,000.

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