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Commissioners, Wyatt agree to contract extension

Steve Wyatt, shown in a file photo, agreed to a contract extension as county manager until next June 30. Steve Wyatt, shown in a file photo, agreed to a contract extension as county manager until next June 30.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners has extended an agreement with County Manager Steve Wyatt that will keep him on board until next June 30.


County manager since February 2006, Wyatt will remain the county’s chief executive at a salary of $202,872 and “any additional bonuses approved by the county,” plus $65,439 in supplemental compensation due Jan. 1, 2020. Although Wyatt is eligible for full retirement benefits under the state of North Carolina, the Board of Commissioners “wishes to keep Wyatt as its employee and to induce and incent him not to exercise his option to retire” before June 30, the contract amendment says.
“Basically, we’ve left it open, as long as they’re happy with me and I’m happy with them,” Wyatt said. “We’ve got several projects I’m heavily involved with that I’ll continue to guide and some projects you don’t know about that’ll blow your socks off. We’ll keep going.” He said he’s been eligible for full retirement since 2013.
Among the projects under way are the new Edneyville Elementary School, scheduled to open this month, and Hendersonville High School, a massive four-year renovation-new construction project. Beyond those, the Board of Commissioners authorized tax revenue to finance five years of major capital projects for education.
“You’re looking at millions of dollars’ worth of projects in the school system and the community college and those are over a multi-year period of time,” he said. “There’s a lot on the plate there.”
Commissioners made the decision during a closed session on July 10 and formally approved the new contract as a consent agenda item without discussion on Monday. Also in during the closed meeting, the board set the annual salaries for two other executive-level staffers who report to the board. County Attorney Russ Burrell receives an annual salary of $166,094, plus a 7½% longevity bonus. Terry Wilson, clerk to the board, receives $81,939.