Mayor Bill Thacker said the Town Council discussed the matter Thursday in a special closed session meeting. No action was taken.
“Recently, the board was informed Mr. Witherspoon was in conflict with the regulations governing the retirement system,” Thacker said.
His contract with the town requires 30 to 50 hours of work per week. However, the retirement system rules limit his hours to a maximum of 999 hours per year, which is less than an average of 20 hours per week.
“I was retired for seven or eight years before coming here,” Witherspoon said.
When he decided to take a job with the town, he said he called the retirement system to talk about the limitations and was told what he could earn but was not told there was a limitation on his hours worked. He said he did not know he was in violation of the rules.
He received a phone call informing him of the violation and was taken off of the retirement rolls.
He is currently on a 10-year schedule to repay $400,000 into the retirement system.
“I’m just dumbfounded by this,” he said.
Witherspoon has asked the town to renegotiate his contract and put him back into compliance with the rules. He said he may be forced to return as a full-time employee.
He said this was a technical violation of the rules and expected no legal repercussions.