McShane resigns from Hamlet post

On the job fewer than 4 months

By Kevin Spradlin

The city of Hamlet is looking for its third Hamlet Depot and Museums manager and downtown coordinator since August after Chuck McShane submitted his resignation on Friday to City Manager Marcus Abernethy.

Abernethy made the announcement to city staff and elected officials on Friday by email after receiving McShane’s resignation earlier in the day. McShane’s hiring was announced on Dec. 31,2014 and he began the job three weeks later at a starting salary of $39,861. He replaced Miranda Chavis, who resigned in July 2014 after 28 months in the position of Hamlet Depot and Museums manager and downtown coordinator.

McShane will begin work next month as research director for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. In that role McShane will develop, compile and evaluate economic, demographic and related information on Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the Metro region,” according to the job description, and work closely with other research team members to develop new sources of data. McShane also is to perform investigative research to uncover new findings for a better understanding of Charlotte’s infrastructure and relationship to other geographical areas.

Abernethy said McShane’s resignation letter was brief. Abernethy said McShane told him the new job includes “a significant increase” in pay.

Chuck McShane

Chuck McShane

Abernethy told officials that when he selected McShane the city hired “an extremely marketable” individual. At the time of his hire, McShane was working to earn his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Before arriving in Hamlet, McShane was a research assistant at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Has previously has written for, an online publication of the institute. He is also a freelance writer with Our State Magazine and Charlotte Magazine, and author of the book, A History of Lake Norman: Fish Camps to Ferraris.

Both Mayor Bill Bayless and Councilman Johnathan Buie, reached by phone late Friday night, said they first heard about the resignation from The Pee Dee Post though both acknowledged they hadn’t read Abernathy’s email message.

Buie said he couldn’t fault the 32-year-old for working to better himself. Buie said he’d hoped McShane would stay “maybe six months to a year.”

Through email, McShane declined to offer comment until Monday.

“It definitely is sad news,” Buie said, emphasizing there is no ill will towards McShane, whose last day of work on May 5 will mark his 104th day in Hamlet. “He’s done a great job since he’s been here. We knew, in time with his background and education, he wouldn’t stay long. We had a feeling with that. I don’t blame him. That’s the whole purpose of getting and education … is to better yourself.”

Buie said McShane, a Fayetteville native, was the best candidate available for the job and the city shouldn’t shy away alter its hiring approach.

This is an image of Chuck McShane's letter of resignation, emailed Friday afternoon to Hamlet City Manager Marcus Abernethy.

This is an image of Chuck McShane’s letter of resignation, emailed Friday afternoon to Hamlet City Manager Marcus Abernethy.

“Even though I may know that they could possibly leave, there’s no guarantee” they’d do so, Buie said. “They may get the job and find that they love it. We’re hiring people with the experiences, great resumes and there’s nothing saying that everyone that’s here now is gonna stay. I think the only way to get that is you’re going to hire marketable people.”

Abernethy, Buie said, “did a great job hiring Chuck. He had a person with a great resume, a great background and a great personality.”

Like Buie, Bayless said he figured McShane might not stay long but he acknowledged that he’d hoped for longer than three months. Bayless commended McShane’s performance in the short time here.

Abernethy said hiring McShane was the right call.

“It was a great risk hiring him,” said Abernety, with the emphasis on the reward and benefits reaped by the city. “I’m out to hire the very best candidate for the position. We certainly hate to lose him. He has done an outstanding job since he started in the position. Chuck is extremely talented — that’s one of the reasons why I will not regret taking the risk of hiring the best person.”

Following a tumultuous time in recent Hamlet history regarding staff turnover, City Council’s appointment of Abernethy as city manager in October 2014 was expected to the beginning of a smooth future for the city. Abernethy moved quickly to fill the role of police chief with then-Capt. Scott Waters the following month, McShane in December, Maurice McLaurin as Parks and Recreation director in January.

The city had an additional unexpected vacancy when Donna Gail McMillan-Aiken, former senior center director, was first suspended and then — after resigning — arrested for allegedly embezzling senior center funds.

Buie said that city staff has constantly filled in to ensure services remain despite the vacancies over the past several months. IT Director Zach Garner filled in as museum manager, along with the volunteer help of his wife, Candace, Jerry Lamont filled in for former Parks and Rec director Mitch Bowman, and Channon Fowler, a water department employee, served as interim senior center director after McMillan-Aiken’s departure. The senior center vacancy was filled earlier this month by Nikki Sewell.

For his part, McShane never let on that he was seeking employment elsewhere. He represented Hamlet merchants and the museum as the featured speaker during the March meeting of the Rockingham Downtown Corporation, and the night before he submitted his resignation he manned the city of Hamlet booth at the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce Buy Local Business Expo.

Buie said he “never” got a sense or hint of McShane looking to leave, and “that’s what I appreciated about Chuck. He could have come in and ridden that job out just to have something on his resume. He came in, hit the ground running and he did everything he could. I admire him for that.”

Filling the vacancy

Abernethy said he has two choices: to re-advertise the position and start the search from scratch or revisit the recruitment file from late 2014. He said he’ll take a look at the other candidates preferred by the nine-member assessment panel. Depending on what he gleams from available top candidates, he’ll make the choice whether or not to reopen the search.

To be sure, Abernethy said his goal is to fill the vacancy — not replace McShane.

“You can’t replace people because everyone’s unique,” Abernethy said. “I want to fill this position as soon as possible. Chuck has been doing excellent work and I want the momentum to continue.”

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