Former Aiken City Manager Roger LeDuc is serving as interim city manager effective today.
Council met for a one-hour private, executive session on Monday night, with both City Attorney Gary Smith and local attorney James M. Holly, to discuss an employee issue which resulted in a unanimous vote to enter into temporary employee services with LeDuc at $65 per hour plus expenses for up to 34 hours per week.
Acting City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh will return to his position as assistant city manager. The city manager vacancy was created earlier this month when Richard Pearce resigned from the position under pressure from Council.
LeDuc served the City of Aiken as both city manager and Public Works director from 1998 to 2011. After retiring in 2011, he served as the interim administrator in Edgefield County and in the Town of Williston. He currently works with and for Trenton, Edgefield and New Ellenton. LeDuc will be treated as a temporary part-time employee, which means he will not be provided any employee benefits with the exception of liability coverage and workers' compensation.
Part of LeDuc's contractual agreement with the City states that his contract may be terminated by Council at any time with or without cause upon five business days' written notice to the employee.
This was the fourth executive session Council held in the past three weeks. The first three involved Council discussion related to Pearce's administration.
In other business, Council voted unanimously on first reading to amend the budget regarding chipping, hauling and removal of hangars in City parkways stemming from February's ice storm.
Council also unanimously voted on first reading to amend the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget regarding the removal of hangars and leaners in parks and City street rights-of-way from the ice storm. The option Council voted for signs onto the County's agreement with Southern Disaster Recovery, which totals the cost at about $513,000.
In short, the costs will be far higher than originally estimated by Pearce in April. Storm cleanup estimates now stand at close to $1 million. Council still hopes to have much of that spending reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, if it can all be completed by the federal deadline of Aug. 8. Even with reimbursement, City taxpayers may remain on the hook for up to 25 percent of those costs.
City Council will hold the second and final reading of the ordinances during its regular meeting on Monday at 7 p.m.
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.