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City looks to replace embattled official

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Landis Faulcon

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Rocky Mount's government is apparently trying to find a new community and business development director.

A job advertisement is up the N.C. League of Municipalities website for the position, which had been held by Landis Faulcon until she was put on administrative leave approximately 2½ months ago.

City spokeswoman Tameka Kenan-Norman on Monday afternoon released a brief statement to the Telegram saying the city and Faulcon have negotiated a settlement agreement.

"Once an executed agreement has been provided to the city attorney, the terms will be made public," the statement said, a reference to municipal legal counsel Jep Rose.

The statement provided no further information.

Kenan-Norman for a story in late June had said Faulcon had been put on leave with pay, but for an updated story late the next month she said Faulcon had been put on leave without pay until a final decision is made.

Kenan-Norman has said Assistant City Manager Natasha Hampton has been serving as interim community and business development director.

Faulcon's problems been well-documented by the Telegram this year, from her living outside the Rocky Mount area to questions focusing on her leadership ability.

Faulcon had been the economic development director in Petersburg, Va.

Rocky Mount City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney hired her friend Faulcon in January 2018, at a $120,000 salary, to lead Rocky Mount’s then-newly formed community and business development department.

The newspaper learned that, after approximately a year on the job, Faulcon continued to live in Virginia Beach, Va., and in Halifax County.

Rocky Mount has a policy specifying municipal department heads reside within the city limits.

Questions also surfaced at a February meeting of Rocky Mount’s Central City Revitalization Panel about alleged incompetence or stalling in processing a developer’s intentions to transform the former Carleton House motor lodge and restaurant downtown into a boutique hotel.

During the panel meeting, panelist Tarrick Pittman told Faulcon and city Business Development Manager Kevin Harris he believed the municipal government was purposely slow rolling development.

Pittman pressed Faulcon about why the developer on the Carleton House project still had yet to receive state grant funding as a standard pass-through procedure via the municipal government.

Faulcon replied, “I’m not in the loop.”

The newspaper also reported that under Faulcon’s watch, permitting for commercial and residential buildings had slowed to a crawl and key employees in her department had left.

And the newspaper reported that, under Faulcon’s watch, the city failed to achieve accreditation status with the Main Street revitalization program. Rocky Mount is an affiliate of the program, which in effect is a slip of a notch in status.

The want ad on the League of Municipalities website said the hiring range for the future community and business development director is $108,253 to $135,317.

Additionally, the ad said the hiree must live in the city limits of Rocky Mount within 12 months of being appointed to the position.

Also, the ad states a bachelor's degree in a relevant field is required. The ad states while a relevant master's degree is preferred, the candidate must demonstrate significant experience in a department with similarly diverse facilities and functions serving an urban environment.

The ad also states the candidate's work history must include well-rounded experience, with a minimum of 10 years of managerial level experience in the community and business development field as a director, assistant director or the equivalent of a senior-level official.

Among other specifics in the ad, the application review process is going to begin on Oct. 1 and semi-finalists are going to participate in on-site interviews and skill assessments in Rocky Mount on Nov. 7-8.

The ad requests interested applicants make inquiries with the Chapel Hill-based Developmental Associates recruiting firm.

The ad states the hiree is going to report to an assistant city manager, supervise 10 employees and oversee a budget of approximately $1.1 million.

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