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Investigation triggers placement of Coeburn's interim town manager on leave

Steve Igo • Feb 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

COEBURN — A law enforcement investigation into finances related to a Coeburn tourism and recreation landmark has triggered paid administrative leave for the town’s interim town manager, Loretta Mays.

Coeburn Mayor Jess Powers on Monday confirmed the town council’s action involving Mays and forwarded an email announcing that “after being informed of a Virginia State Police active investigation concerning the Coeburn Interim Town Manager,” the town council met in emergency session at 8 p.m. last Thursday.

“After a closed session meeting, the council voted unanimously to place the interim town manager on paid administrative leave, while withholding the vehicle travel allowance, pending the results of the active investigation,” reads Powers’ email.

“During the Emergency Called Meeting, the interim Town Manager was advised of the unanimous vote and decision, which was effective immediately.”

VSP 1st Sgt. Joe Daniels of the Wytheville field office in Castlewood confirmed the investigation and said the Wise County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the probe.

“We are conducting an investigation,” Daniels said. “The only thing I can confirm is (it involves) Lay’s Hardware Center for the Arts, referencing financial discrepancies.”

Efforts to reach Mays were unsuccessful. Mays has served as town manager since 2006 and serves under an employment contract, but her status was changed somewhat last year when council added “interim” to the title.

The town’s affairs, including wholesale turnover of the police department and fiscal problems that developed during the last quarter of last year, have been in flux for about a year.

Lay’s Hardware is a turn of the century former hardware store in the heart of the downtown sector.

In recent years the building was transformed into an occasional musical venue for The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and popular local arts, entertainment and recreational center housed in the traditional trappings of yesteryear.

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