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Giles’ contract extended to 2020

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed Tuesday to renew County Administrator and County Attorney Vivian Seay Giles’ employment contract through June 2020.

The contract includes a salary increase for Giles — who shares the role of county administrator and county attorney — to $149,900 from $142,763, resulting in an annual pay raise of $7,137.

Vivian Seay Giles

Giles was hired after former County Administrator Judy Ownby retired. When hiring Giles, the board agreed to combine the positions of county attorney and administrator — a rarity in Virginia counties.

District Five Supervisor Parker Wheeler, reflecting a statement of concern offered during the public comment portion of the meeting, proposed the severance pay amount stay at the equivalent of 90 days, as it is in Giles’ existing contract, instead of the proposed 180 days.

According to the approved contract, Giles “agrees to waive and release Employer from any and all claims, disputes, or actions against Employer or Board, including, but not limited to, claims, disputes, or actions for wrongful discharge, termination, breach of contract, or discrimination” in the event of her termination.

The board proposed and approved a small change in Giles’ proposed salary during the meeting, decreasing her proposed salary from $149,901.15 to $149,900 annually.

During discussion on Giles’ contract, District Two Supervisor Lloyd Banks Jr. cited the lack of a clarity between Giles’ roles as attorney and administrator, noting roles and situations for which the county could contract out the services of an attorney.

“My concern here is there seems to be a missing link in this contract as it relates to the county paying for legal services,” Banks said. “As a policy, when is the county going to pay for legal services and what legal services are covered in the county administrator’s position?” he questioned.

After discussion, supervisors determined having Giles as the county attorney and county administrator and hiring their choice of outside legal services when necessary was more cost effective and convenient than hiring permanent outside legal services or temporary outside legal counsel every time counsel was needed.

Giles couldn’t be reached for comment on her contract renewal.

In addition, under the contract, the county “agrees to budget and pay for professional dues and subscriptions of Employee necessary for her continued and full participation in national, state, and local associations and organizations and for the participation, advancement and good of (the county), up to an annual amount not to exceed $750.”

In the approved contract, the county agreed to pay for travel costs and certain other expenses for Giles.

“The Employer and Employee agree that the Virginia Association of Counties annual conference and Virginia Local Government Managers Association Conference are approved for participation by Employee,” the contract reads.

The county will also reimburse Giles for her annual Virginia State Bar dues and other costs as needed to maintain continuing legal education credits necessary to maintain Employee’s status as an active member of the Virginia State Bar, the contract states.

Giles’ current contract ends April 1.