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Zebulon reduces staff; Birney out

By Kay S. Pedrotti Zebulon city finance and special projects administrator Kathleen Birney’s job has been eliminated as of 2013 by unanimous vote of the city council. Birney has worked with the city for 15 years. The vote took place at the Dec. 11 meeting, which was preceded by an executive session in which the move and other budget matters were discussed, according to Mayor Mike Beres. ”There were budget items that needed to be corrected. This is the avenue council chose to reduce costs to the taxpayers,” Beres added. The two duties will be “combined into the town clerk’s job which will be advertised for applications.’ He noted interim clerk Phyllis Crawford as well as Birney will be able to apply for the new position along with others. The council recently named police chief Chuck Ledbetter as city administrator, Beres said, “but the recommendation (to eliminate Birney’s job) did not come from him ‘“ it arose from the council.” Birney has been placed on administrative leave with pay until the end of 2012. Other actions Dec. 11 included approval on second reading of the code permitting Sunday liquor sales. Another code allowing the pouring of alcohol in restaurants is still being written, Beres said. ”We believe some establishments are already selling liquor on Sundays but so far nobody’s been interested in pouring,” the mayor said.

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