Thursday, July 25, 2024

Wrightsville Beach town manager retires, effective immediately

Tim Owens, manager of the Town of Wrightsville Beach, has retired. (Port City Daily/File)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — At a special-called aldermen meeting Friday, Wrightsville Beach announced its town manager would be leaving his position.

READ MORE: WB Board of Aldermen to hold special meeting Jan. 17 to discuss public employee

Tim Owens has worked for the island government for 11 years, the majority in a management role. Owens was not present at the meeting but Mayor Darryl Mills announced Owens’ exit.

Alderman Ken Dull would not confirm with Port City Daily whether Wednesday’s closed session was related to the matter; closed sessions can be held for the aldermen to discuss personnel matters. It came on the heels of a petition regarding issues with the town’s fire chief.

Multiple allegations were included in the petition, accusing Chief Josh Haraway of making sexist comments to female workers and jeopardizing safety of citizens, such as not responding to the Scotch Bonnet Lane shooting according to FEMA or National Fire Protection Association active shooter response guidelines.

Mills told PCD Monday the town was taking the allegations seriously: “And we’re going to look into it and investigate it and take appropriate action that may be warranted.”

The petition said the chief’s behavior led to a toxic work environment and that personnel issues were also mishandled, citing the town manager’s involvement.

“WBFD personnel were told we are no longer allowed to go to HR if we have a problem, but we must go through Chief Haraway and the town manager first,” the petition claims.

Dull told PCD Friday that Owens’ retirement was something he had been considering for months and would be effective immediately.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss [the closed session] actually, but Tim’s been a great manager and he’s been working on planning retirement,” Dull said. “I’m not sure if it was something he would have done today or a month from now, but I mean, it’s obviously a retirement and not a resignation or a firing.”

Owens expressed appreciation of the support he has received during his career in his notice of retirement. The letter was addressed to the aldermen and mayor and sent to media Friday. Owens has worked in government for 30 years, including in nearby Carolina Beach.

“I am thankful for all of my friendships along the way and the hard work and dedication of my co-workers at Wrightsville Beach and all other units of government I have worked,” he wrote.

Owens vowed to help the transition remain smooth for the next manager of the island. Tony Wilson, the planning and parks director, will act as the interim town manager. Dull said at the meeting Wilson has been working with Wrightsville Beach for 27 years.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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