Mayor to serve as assistant manager

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By Patrick Smith

INDEPENDENCE — Independence Town Council held a special meeting on Sept. 17 to discuss a new temporary role for Mayor Butch Reeves.
Council hired new Town Manager Jerry Hughes in early September, and since that time Reeves has been assisting Hughes with his duties while he becomes acquainted with the position and the town.
The purpose of the Sept. 17 meeting was to adjust Reeves’ salary cap and allow him to temporarily continue serving as both the mayor and assistant town manager.
Town attorney Roger Brooks explained that there is a restriction in Virginia cities prohibiting an individual from holding both roles, but the rule doesn’t apply to towns.
After Brooks’ brief explanation and clarification of Reeves’ eligibility, Vice Mayor Tom Maxwell made the motion to allow Reeves to temporarily serve both roles. The motion was seconded by Council Member Buddy Halsey and approved by unanimous vote.
“I hate to put an exact end date on this,” said Halsey. “But we can’t afford them both on the payroll forever.”
After the vote, council asked Hughes to propose a timeframe that would end Reeves’ temporary role. Hughes could not answer when he would be comfortable enough to assume town manager duties on his own, so council resolved to continue the discussion and make a final decision to end Reeves’ temporary position at the next scheduled meeting, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9.