News, Public Notice

Council closes out town advisor position, will go ahead with urban renewal plansCouncil closes out town advisor position, will go ahead with urban renewal plans

by Geoff Fox

In a Facebook post last Thursday, Town Advisor Bill Valentine announced he was no longer with the Town of Hancock.

In a phone interview with The Hancock News, Valentine said he was sitting in a tree stand hunting when he received a phone call from Ivan Lanier of Greenwill Consulting letting him know the Town of Hancock no longer needed his services and his last day was Friday, September 30.

In getting the call directly from Lanier, Valentine said there had been no communication from the town about his position going away.

Valentine said his job was supposed to only last three days a week for three to four months but it ended up being five days a week for five months. He served as town advisor for a total of 14 months.

The main job Valentine had with the town was to be there to keep things going until the town found a new town manager.

They hired a new town manager in July when Michael Faith resigned from his seat as councilman to take the position.

Valentine said he hopes Faith can keep things going and added he had been in town recently with Faith a couple times.

Valentine claimed that town officials are not moving forward with the urban renewal program he had gotten funding for. Town officials say that’s not the case.

Del. Mike McKay and Valentine put a lot of time forth into getting the $1 million from the governor’s budget for the town, he said.

The town was “missing a great opportunity” by not moving forward with the urban renewal as the money is sitting there waiting for the town to use it or lose it, Valentine said.

Mayor Tim Smith told The Hancock News the town is going ahead with their urban renewal plans.

Part of the urban renewal money deal will be Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford coming to Hancock in the coming weeks to meet with town officials to see how things are going.

Mayor Tim Smith confirmed the governor and lieutenant governor’s visit later this month.

Smith noted when the town hired Greenwill Consulting, Valentine had a blanket contact to advise the town.

Town officials said they pay Greenwill $60,000 per year for their services, and Valentine’s advising did not cost them extra.

The mayor said the separation was a mutual agreement between Greenwill and the town because Faith had been hired as the new town manager and Smith said they didn’t want to take anything away from Faith’s job.

He added when it came to the end of September, if Greenwill needed Valentine elsewhere, Smith said the town would be fine with Faith as town manager.

Because the town did not employ Valentine, Smith said they had to contact Lanier at Greenwill and let him know unless Greenwill had anything else for him in Hancock, Valentine was free to go elsewhere Greenwill needed him.

Smith said there was nothing wrong with Valentine and the town simply no longer needed his services.

Smith added the town is still going through with the urban development, but right now they are just going over everything to make sure the language is what town officials want and everything is written the way it should be.

While he wishes things had been handled differently, Valentine said he has no hard feelings toward the town and wishes them the best.