Martinsville City Attorney Eric Monday is now also the assistant city manager.
City Manager Leon Towarnicki appointed him to the role after the previous assistant city manager, Wayne Knox, retired on June 30. Knox also served as community development director.
“Eric Monday has assumed the responsibilities of assistant city manager. He also remains as the city attorney. His position, previously a part-time position, moves to full time with the additional/dual responsibility,” Towarnicki wrote in an email Monday.
Towarnicki did not immediately respond to other questions the Bulletin asked by email, including salary and benefit information. He also did not immediately respond to a request to provide a copy of Monday’s contract for the city attorney position.
The announcement came following attempts by the Martinsville Bulletin to confirm Monday’s new status.
Mayor Kathy Lawson, in response to a Bulletin query, wrote in an email: “You should direct personnel questions to the city manager. The assistant city manager does not fall under council.”
The Bulletin also contacted or attempted to contact other council members before Towarnicki made the announcement, asking if they knew whether someone had been named to the position.
Vice Mayor Chad Martin said “I’ve heard Leon [Towarnicki] is looking at Eric [Monday] to take over the position. I think they’ve talked about it. I’m not sure if Leon has made a final decision.”
“I would definitely be all for it,” Martin said of Monday having a dual role as assistant city manager and city attorney. Martin cited Monday’s experience as city attorney and familiarity with city issues.
Council member James Woods referred questions to Towarnicki, and Council member Jennifer Bowles did not respond.
Monday has been in the new role for slightly more than a week, Council member Danny Turner said.
“According to the city manager, Eric Monday has been working full time since July 1,” Turner said. “The city manager sent an email that y’all would be seeking information.”
Turner said his understanding is that “they are winding down” the cases in which Monday is collecting some delinquent taxes on behalf of the city, for a fee, as the city attorney. “Then it will be completely turned over to the city treasurer.”
Turner provided the Bulletin a copy of a contract in 2007 between Monday, the Martinsville City Council and the Patrick County Board of Supervisors governing Monday’s role as part-time attorney for both localities.
Monday had been attorney for the city of Martinsville since 2003, according to his biography, and had been the part-time Patrick County attorney since 2004, according to a Bulletin article. On July 1, 2007, he closed his private practice to work exclusively as part-time attorney for both Patrick County and Martinsville. In April 2008, Monday submitted his resignation as Patrick County attorney.
Turner said he has voiced a number of concerns about the 2007 contract to the mayor, but was told he would not be able to bring them up at future council meetings.
“I think the city charter says the city attorney serves at the pleasure of city council,” Turner said. “He can’t be assistant city manager and the lawyer for the city of Martinsville, in my humble opinion. That’s a conflict of interest.”
Monday confirmed in an email that he has been named assistant city manager effective July 1 and started at that time.
“I will continue all my current duties as city attorney (which includes representing City Council, all city departments, and the school system as needed), and any tasks assigned by the city manager. This could include development projects, particular property issues, and personnel and budget issues as required—any anything else that comes along,” Monday wrote.
He went on to note that any possible conflicts of interest could be resolved.
“As far as the dual role is concerned, Mr. Towarnicki and I discussed and acknowledged that my legal representation of City Council comes first, and any conflicts between Council and assistant city Manager duties will always be resolved in council’s favor,” Monday wrote. “I also discussed this with Mayor Lawson.”
Monday said his salary is $100,190, the city attorney salary was $55,745., and there is no contract specific to the assistant city manager position. He said his benefits and work requirements are the same as any full-time city employee.
“I will close out the tax collection files I currently have in process, which will likely take several months,” Monday confirmed.
Monday said he did not ask to be assistant city manager, that It was Towarnicki asked him if he would be interested, and after thinking it over, he decided that he was.
“I am very honored to have been asked, and I was happy to accept,” Monday wrote.
Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.