KFP Column: Let’s talk about Ellis….

by Bryan Hanks
Kinston Free Press

Some thoughts, news and observations on the first fall weekend of 2011 … ELLIS CAN’T BE CITY MANAGER: According to Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy and veteran city councilman Joe Tyson, Interim City Manager Bill Ellis can’t be named to the full-time manager position because he accepted the interim post with the caveat he wouldn’t take the full-time job. I can appreciate the thinking there – why would you have good candidates apply if they think the interim is going to be named?

But I’ll reiterate what I said in this space a few weeks back – there simply isn’t a better candidate out there than Bill Ellis. His leadership over the past few months, during arguably one of the most critical times in our city’s history (crime wave, Hurricane Irene, etc.), has been as strong as you could expect from a full-time city manager.

No, I’m not Bill’s campaign manager and – as humble a human being as he is – he’s probably embarrassed so many folks have taken up this cause. But Mr. Mayor and City Council: you’re going to have to hit a home run if you’re going to find someone who has half the qualifications Bill has for this position. It’s not written in stone that you can’t hire him; if you can’t find the right candidate, consider a man who loves this city as much or more than anyone here.

Here’s an email I sent to Bryan Hanks on Sunday, September 18th

From: BJ Murphy
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2011 9:37 PM
To: ‘Bryan Hanks’
Subject: Appointment of Interim City Manager


Just for your information since you wrote about it last week [Sunday, September 11, 2011].

Several citizens have made comments to me about Bill Ellis before and after your column.  I agree 100% that Bill has been terrific at the role, especially with the crime spike and hurricane issues we were all dealt immediately following his appointment.

However, there was an agreement among Council that because we had several qualified internal and external candidates, that we didn’t want to favor one over another during the interim period.  Therefore, whoever we chose as interim also agreed to not be considered for the permanent role.

I have avoided mentioning this agreement in public because honestly I couldn’t remember if it was said in open or closed session.  However, I found the minutes [Pages from minutes_06_20_2011 – Interim Manager] and the video from the 6/20/2011 meeting of the council as you see attached.  Notice that Will made the statement publicly, Joe made the motion reiterating the statement and Alice seconded the motion.

Start at 1:55

Take care,

Here’s the podcast interview I did with Bryan Hanks before he wrote the 9/25/2011 column:
https://bjmurphy.org/podcast-interview-with-the-kfp/ – Discussion at 31:30