MONROE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – In ten minutes and with two votes, the leadership changed in the City of Monroe on Tuesday.
City manager Brian Borne, and city attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan, were fired after a closed-door session.
We asked if he was blindsided, and Shah-Khan said, “Yes, but that’s the decision the council made; they have the authority and the ability to make it. Whether or not I agree with it is another issue entirely.”
“A lot has been done, a lot of positive things for the city,” added Borne when asked about the decision. “So I don’t know what the complaint is.”
City council members didn’t shed much light on the issue in the meeting. This is the second city manager to be let go in three years and the eighth city manager in 14 years. The current vote left longstanding council members baffled.
“In those 12 years, I’ve never had a motion presented to me that I feel so strongly against,” said councilmember Freddie Gordon before he voted no.
“We had a meeting with the city manager, and we decided to put him on probation,” said councilmember Lynn Keziah after the vote in the city hall parking lot. “And he came up with some pretty choice words that weren’t too much appreciated by present council.”
“I think we’ve always been civil,” countered Borne. “Now, I do occasionally let a cuss word out, but I don’t cuss at anybody.”
The council appointed Lisa Strickland as interim city manager, and the assistant city attorney will take over legal duties.
The plan is to hire a new city attorney in a couple of weeks, and there is talk it will be former Union County manager Mark Watson. Watson was fired from his position in December 2022 for possible wrongdoing.
Borne and Shah-Khan will get a severance package worth a combined $484,000, and when each man was asked what taxpayers in Monroe should think about the moves.
“They should ask their elected officials why those decisions were made today,” said Shah-Khan.
“Think about your vote,” added Borne. “Vote carefully.”