COMMISSIONER: Martin County manager shares resignation letter

COMMISSIONER: Martin County manager shares resignation letter
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 11:05 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2023 at 1:00 PM EDT
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MARTIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - An embattled county manager is resigning from his position, according to a county commissioner.

County Commissioner Joe Ayers tells WITN that he received a resignation letter from Martin County Manager James Bennett. It states that Bennett’s last day is October 31st.

The letter reads:

“I wish to acknowledge my appreciation for the opportunity extended to serve as County Manager for Martin County. Together we have been able to achieve some success. I am most appreciative to my supportive staff for the outstanding service they have and will continue to provide.

Mounting public criticism has begun to affect the effectiveness of the staff and as a result, I am submitting my letter of resignation as of September 27, 2023. My last day will be October 31, 2023.”

It comes a day after the county and three commissioners were named in a lawsuit filed by Commissioners Skip Gurganus and Joe Ayers.

The lawsuit says that Bennett received four different pay raises that Ayers and Gurganus were not aware of which brought his total salary up to $186,000 per year. It also claimed that nine different violations of the state’s open meeting laws and other meetings conducted without proper public access took place.

Last night a vote was called during a specially called commissioners meeting to fire Bennett but the vote failed 3-2.

The resignation is the latest in the saga for the county following the closure of Martin General Hospital.