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Alderman files complaint against colleagues with Attorney General's Office

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A local politician is raising concerns about transparency in the city of New Bern.

Alderman Dana Outlaw has filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office. He disagrees with how the board approved a $30,000 bonus for city manager Mike Epperson.

Epperson declined that bonus on Wednesday. But Outlaw says the mayor of New Bern, Lee Bettis, usurped the board's authority.

The aldermen agreed to give Epperson a bonus at a Saturday retreat on February 16, but Outlaw says the vote wasn't official because it didn't happen at one their city hall meetings.

"I would never do anything like that at a retreat. It would always be done at a public forum and public meeting where a city clerk was taking minutes and everybody was given the right to attend that meeting," said Outlaw.

Mayor Bettis says the retreat was public and one person showed up. He also says the retreat was announced last month at a city hall meeting and the agenda was published online in advance.

--- Original story ---

NEW BERN, N.C. -- The city manager of New Bern has declined a $30,000 bonus.

The board of aldermen approved the annual bonus at a meeting this week.

City Manager Mike Epperson says he sent an email turning down the extra money the board offered.

Epperson said, "I appreciate the board's gesture in offering the bonus. However, our city faces many challenges as well as opportunities. And I do not want this to become a distraction which takes our focus away from the hard work that needs to be done".

Epperson says he never asked for the bonus.

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