Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
After serving as manager of Highlands for nearly five years, Bob Frye informed the Highlands Board of Commissioners in September that he would be retiring from his position effective Dec. 23. Although members of the board accepted his retirement notice unanimously during the September meeting, Frye was removed from his position as manager the following day and Highlands Public Works Director Lamar Nix was appointed as Interim Manager.
According to Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor, the separation agreement between Frye and the town of Highlands is confidential and details of the separation cannot be discussed although the agreement was reached mutually.
Frye remains on Highlands payroll making his manager salary of $112,000 per year until his Dec. 23 serving as a consultant to the town for major projects.
While Frye has only worked in Highlands for the past four and a half years, he has 20 years of experience in local government, something Mayor Taylor said didn’t go unnoticed during the September board meeting.
“In September I thanked Mr. Frye for his service and told him how much I appreciate not just what he did for the town during his tenure, but what he has done for local government as a whole during his career,” said Taylor.
As manager, Frye was responsible for overseeing 65 full time employees and 25 seasonal employees, something that will be equally as expected of his successor. Highlands budget sits at $14.5 million this year and the next manager will be responsible for balancing the budget each year.
Highlands is currently accepting applications for Town Manager and plans to have a full-time replacement hired by the year’s end.
“We are looking forward to the application process and will begin reviewing applications shortly,” said Taylor.
Based on Highlands’ job description for Town Manager: An employee in this class serves as the chief executive officer for the Town of Highlands. Emphasis of the work is on administering day-to-day management of programs and policies established by Board of Commissioners, Town Charter, and various federal and state laws, rules, and regulations. This employee exercises significant independence of action, initiative, and judgment with overall responsibility for all departments and direction of the management team to ensure achieving departmental objectives and directing the development and administration of the annual Town budget. The employee also oversees the development, planning, and implementation of the strategic plan and setting goals and objectives to meet the operational needs of the Town. This classification and employee are defined as an “at-will” in terms of employment and is subject to will of the Board.
Taylor hopes the next manager has the experience and qualifications desired to continue moving Highlands forward.