Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Carolina Beach votes to terminate Town Manager Lucky Narain’s contract after controversy

Lucky Narain was hired several months ago to serve as the new Town Manager of Carolina Beach (Port City Daily/Courtesy Carolina Beach)
Lucky Narain was hired several months ago to serve as the new Town Manager of Carolina Beach (Port City Daily/Courtesy Carolina Beach)

The town effectively fired Town Manager Lucky Narain after a week of controversy involving the town’s police department.

Updated 8:10 a.m. — The update at the bottom of the page includes a comment from Lucky Narain. 

CAROLINA BEACH — The Town of Carolina Beach is once again without a Town Manager after a 4-1 vote to terminate Lucky Narain’s contracts.

Related: Carolina Beach committee alleges town manager lied to police candidate, forced officers on PT run

The vote came late Tuesday night after an hours-long Town Council meeting and a closed session where dozens of residents packed the council’s chambers.

The termination comes at an interesting time as the budget season comes to an end and the town readies itself to adopt the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget.

It also comes after the town’s Police Advisory Committee penned an open letter to the Town Council listing several grievances with Narain including his hiring practices and oversight with the Carolina Beach Police Department.

Narain is the second town manager to have his contract terminated in the past year from Carolina Beach, in September of 2018 the town voted to relieve Michael Cramer of his duties as manager after five years on the job.

Narain responded to the firing on Wednesday morning via email, his response is unedited below the cutline.

Hi, my name is Lucky Narain. Most recently I served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Town of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. As a Town Manager and a public servant, I was dedicated to doing the best I could to benefit the public, manage a staff approximately 120 employees, and oversee a near 25 million dollar budget. Sometimes the vision of those individuals who appoint us into office change. Sometimes political dynamics create riptides. It’s all part of the process and the profession.
There was no failure here. No laws were broken. No deadlines were missed. No policies were violated. The budget was still in process and was on a positive track. Various Council Members told me so. With the proposed budget no money was allocated to be taken from the General Fund to pass the budget, as in years prior to my arrival. In fact, the Council was still deciding on very few elements to refine the balanced budget. These elements included, for example, presenting me the exact amounts for employee compensation (COLA/merit percentages) and how much to return into the General Fund.
At issue were political dynamics. Specifically, the dynamics involved in addressing concerns with a police department that has experienced tremendous difficulties in recent years. These were present long before I joined the Town. My short tenure was not enough to make the positive difference I had hoped for. For example, I participated in the comprehensive selection process to fill numerous police officer vacancies. We chose to recruit four superiorly qualified candidates. Unfortunately, from a lesser qualified candidate I experienced harassment, slander, and a negative media campaign that I imagine Town Council was not able to ignore.
Serving on the Town Council is a tremendous responsibility and I have grown fond of the Council. I have come to value and respect their drive, determination, and passion for public service. I applaud them for the work they do and empathize with the pressures they deal with and the riptides they navigate through.
To the extent that I am able to assist the Town of Carolina Beach in the future, I look forward to doing so.
In service,
Lucky Narain

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