Thursday, July 18, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
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Graham’s lawyers get raises; council considers buying land for Bill Cooke Park expansion


Graham city council members spent a half-hour behind closed doors at the end of Tuesday night’s monthly meeting, deciding to give the city’s attorneys a raise and also discussing whether to purchase three parcels of land adjacent to Bill Cooke Park for additional recreation space.

The council ultimately ratified, in open session, a decision to give Bob Ward and Bryan Coleman a 6.2 percent raise – i.e., about $5,416 raise on top of their firm’s existing salaries of $87,360 – bringing their total compensation to $92,776.

Earlier in the meeting, on the consent agenda, the council had agreed to change the attorneys’ contract with the city to convert them to part-time municipal employees.  The change had been discussed during a longer closed meeting at last month’s meeting, when the city manager’s performance was also evaluated.

However, the attorneys’ new contract specifies that neither will be eligible to receive any fringe benefits otherwise available to city employees, such as insurance benefits, vacation pay, sick leave, or longevity pay.

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They will, however, be able to receive cost-of-living increases, such as the 3.8 percent included in city manager Megan Garner’s new 2024-2025 budget adopted at Tuesday’s meeting, or another approximately $3,500 on July 1.


More city park land?

Also on the agenda for the closed meeting was to be a discussion on whether to purchase about 12 acres along Town Branch Road, owned by the descendants of former long-time Graham planning board member James E. “Bill” Teer, “for the intended use of park and recreational facilities.”  Teer died in 2021, and his wife, Ann, died last fall.

Their daughters, Susan Teer Lambert and Cathy Teer Evans, now own each of the three properties which are immediately adjacent to Bill Cooke Park; the three parcels currently have a tax value of $461,044.

No public announcement was made about the results of that discussion after the closed meeting.

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