HAMLET — The resignation of longtime City Clerk Tammy Kirkley has added a note of urgency to a City Council work session called to examine where city expenditures stand midway through the fiscal year.
Now, the council will have to decide quickly Tuesday afternoon how to fill Kirkley’s position. Kirkley resigned in a letter dated Jan. 18, City Manager Jonathan Blanton said Friday.
In the letter, Blanton said, Kirkley cites her “17 years of service to the city and thanks the current governing body, as well as past governing bodies and the public, for giving her the opportunity to grow into the public servant that she is today.”
Blanton said that Kirkley “did not make me personally aware of any job position” she might have been offered.
In an official release, Blanton said that “the city wishes to express the utmost appreciation to Mrs. Kirkley for her many years of service to the city, and wishes her the absolute best in her future endeavors.”
But a spokeswoman for Richmond Community College said Kirkley shortly would become a human resources technician at RCC. The RCC board learned of her hiring during its regular meeting earlier this week, spokeswoman Wiley Bell said.
In 2015, former City Manager Marchell David nominated Kirkley to be clerk of the year in the five counties covered by the Lumber River Council of Governments. David said that, in working with Kirkley — who did win the honor — “I have been blessed to work beside someone who shares my vision of what it is to be a true public servant.
“Her commitment to the ‘city of Hamlet team’ is unparalleled.”
RCC itself profiled Kirkley in an article printed in the Daily Journal last September.
Kirkley graduated from RCC in 2015, earning an associate’s degree in business administration and a certificate in public administration.
She said then that her education had “helped me gain a better understanding of the technical side of the intrinsic operations within local government (and) of many legal principles and workings within a local government setting.”
Kirkley later completed two state certifications required within her profession, and served on the board of directors for several local community-service agencies, the article said.
Kirkley’s departure took Mayor Bill Bayless by surprise, he said Friday.
“We’re really going to miss her,” he said. “I wish her the best.”
Council members David Lindsey and Jesse McQueen were more effusive.
“I hate to see her go,” Lindsey said. Anytime the city loses a long-time employee, “you lose a lot of history, you lose a lot of information. You hate to lose a good employee and a valuable resource.”
Council member Jesse McQueen said Kirkley had been “a great asset to the city — her professionalism, her willingness to jump right in to do anything she’s asked to do.”
“The new person we hire as city clerk is going to have some big shoes to fill.”
The three other council members were unavailable for comment Friday.
The council will discuss Kirkley’s potential replacement during a specially called open meeting from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, in council chambers at 201 Main St.
The agenda for that meeting also will include a review of finances midway through the fiscal year, and a discussion of projects scheduled but not yet completed, including:
• Background checks for parks and recreation coaches;
• New entrance signs to the city;
• Outsourcing maintenance of Mary Love Cemetery;
• Financing restoration of the dock at City Lake; and
• Repaving the basketball courts at the city’s south Hamlet park.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.