Data submitted by area towns last year to the N.C. League of Municipalities (NCLM) strongly suggest that Peter Rascoe is the highest paid town manager in Dare County, The Beacon has learned.

Mr. Rascoe, who has been Southern Shores’ top administrator for the past nine years, announced his retirement a week ago. His last day at work will be Aug. 16. (See The Beacon, 7/21/19.)

The towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Manteo submitted salary data to the NCLM for its 2018 annual salary survey; Southern Shores and Nags Head did not.

Duck and Kitty Hawk provided a salary range for the position of town manager, whereas KDH and Manteo gave specific salaries.

As of Aug. 1, 2018, according to survey results posted on the NCLM’s website, the town managers in the four towns were paid as follows:

Duck (pop. 396): between a minimum salary of $90,786 and a maximum of $147, 583, with an average salary of $140,476.

Kitty Hawk (pop. 3,516): between a minimum of $72,605 and a maximum of $129,711, with an average of $106,080.

Kill Devil Hills (pop. 7,195): $139,199.

Manteo (pop. 1,563): $123,362.

As The Beacon previously reported, Mr. Rascoe was hired a few months after Mayor Hal Denny and the then-Town Council emerged from a closed session held during the Feb. 2, 2010 Council meeting and “accepted the resignation” of Town Manager Charles B. Read Jr., who also participated in the closed session. The Council appointed Police Chief David Kole interim town manager at this same meeting.

Mr. Rascoe, a former Chowan County manager, signed a contract with the Town on May 10, 2010, and started work June 9, 2010. His starting annual salary was $109,500, plus $36,187 in benefits, according to personnel records that The Beacon obtained through a public record request earlier this year. His employment contract term was three years, its termination set for July 1, 2013.

Town records show that during the past nine years, Mr. Rascoe’s salary increased about 50 percent. When he announced his Sept. 1 retirement, Mr. Rascoe had four years remaining on a 10-year extension of his initial contract.

As of Aug. 1, 2018, Mr. Rascoe’s salary was $151,356—$28,000 more than the comparable salary reported by Manteo; $12,000 more than the salary reported by KDH; and about $45,000 and $11,000 more, respectively, than the average salaries provided for the same position by Kitty Hawk and Duck.

In population, Southern Shores, which has about 2,900 year-round residents, is most like Kitty Hawk, but there the resemblance ends. At 8.23 square miles—according to the U.S. Census Bureau—Kitty Hawk has more than twice the area of Southern Shores.

At 5.5 square miles, Kill Devil Hills is much closer in size to Southern Shores, but it is much more densely populated, with about 2 ½ times the number of people.

Unlike Kitty Hawk, the other three towns that participated in the NCLM’s 2018 salary survey, and Nags Head, as well, Southern Shores has no mixed residential and commercial districts: Residential development is deliberately segregated from commercial development.

Compared to the other towns’ development, the commercial area in Southern Shores, which exists on its southern edge, is relatively small and self-contained. Problems of commercial traffic, noise, litter, hours of activity, etc., do not impinge upon residents, who might seek relief from Town Hall, and Southern Shores does not have to contend with the enforcement of zoning and other regulations that arise with commercial development.

The N.C. League of Municipalities is a self-described “member-driven” service and advocacy organization that represents the interests of N.C. cities and towns. It works “to promote good government and vibrant cities and towns.” Towns voluntarily provide the salaries of their employees in a spirit of partnership.

The Beacon is in the process of acquiring more specific salary information from all of the Dare County towns. We will report our findings.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, July 26, 2019


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