BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) -- Boiling Spring Lakes city leaders met behind closed doors today to discuss what they say were personnel matters. Concerned and angered residents showed up to see what might really happen. Many believe Mayor Richard White and some other city leaders do not have the citizens' best interest at heart.
"Am I angry? I'm angry," resident Judy Thuer said. "And there are a lot more people that are angry. It's just not me. There are more people that are very, very angry."
Thuer is one of dozens of concerned Boiling Spring Lakes residents who showed up to the City Commission's closed door meeting Monday afternoon.
Rumors spread through town that the meeting was called to give interim City Manager Paul Sabiston the power to hire and fire city employees. It's a power that permanent city managers possess, but not temporary ones like Sabiston.
"Today was a special called meeting to consider two items: one was the contract for the interim manager, second one was the moving forward of the hiring of a permanent city manager," Sabiston said.
While Sabiston says they did review his contract, no decisions were made about the contract or filling the job permanently.
We asked Sabiston if we was interested in the job. He said he's submitted an application and is considering it. It's a thought Thuer is not happy about.
"Every job that he has had, he has left in the shambles," she said. "He has had multiple, multiple problems with any job he's had."
"There's always a lot of talk in small towns, I think, and I think that's part of it, and we've just got to take a step back, take a deep breath and move forward," Sabiston said. "We're trying to stay positive and keep things in a good light, but it's tough. With these times and the economy, there's difficult decisions to be made in the near future."
Thuer and other citizens are afraid those difficult decisions include firing people the mayor does not like.
"They have an agenda," Thuer said. "They only want what they want, doesn't matter what anybody else wants."
Thuer was the only BSL citizen willing to speak on camera. Many city employees and members of the fire and police departments did not want to talk publicly but told us off camera they fear for their jobs.
Mayor White said the board narrowed the search for city manager considerably and will meet again next Tuesday to discuss it further.
We tried to talk to commissioners, but they said they could not talk about personnel matters.
White has not yet returned a call for comment about allegations made against him.