In a series of back room deals, Christiansburg’s soon-to-be-former town manager is leaving his $130,000 a year job under a cloud of controversy and will assume the Floyd town manager post that currently pays 43 grand a year.

Of course, Floyd’s town government — which operates with all the transparency of BP in an oil-spill crisis — isn’t saying yet what it plans to pay Lance Terpenny to manage a town of 436 after 14 years of running a community of 42,000.

“”He is coming to Floyd. We’re glad to have him and we’re excited about the opportunity to be getting to work with him,” Floyd Mayor Will Griffin told The Roanoke Times Wednesday.

Christiansburg, on the other hand, seems in a hurry to get rid of Terpenny. On Tuesday night, the Town Council there met to consider a contract with Terpenny and emerged from the session with a vote telling the Town Manager to resign by Aug. 1.

“The timing was right,” Christianburg councilman Jim Vanhoozier said after the meeting.

The timing was right for Terpenny, who saw the handwriting on the wall. For weeks, he had been trying to get a three-year contract with the town — something he never had before — and wanted it in place before a new town council took over with new members who made it clear they didn’t particularly care for their town manager.

But things weren’t working out like he planned, so he applied for the town manager job opening left by current occupant Korene Thompson’s departure.

Floyd’s town town government interviewed Terpenny and offered him the job the next day — an incredibly impulsive move for a town government and one that doesn’t leave a lot of time to check out any problems he may have had with his current or other employers.

Terpenny called Griffin and accepted the job Tuesday night — the same night the Christiansburg Town Council sacked him.

In government as in comedy, timing is everything.

“He fits the mold perfectly,” Griffin tells the Times. “We knew he was our guy.”

What mold is that? Is this why the town is raising taxes to burden its its citizens in bad economic times when it already has a budget surplus?

It appears our new town manager was actively looking for another job while negotiating with with his current employer for a new contract. Will he be looking for another job even before he starts working for Floyd?

Roanoke Times columnist and blogger Dan Casey notes that “Lance Terpenney really must have some kind of hold over the current majority on Christiansburg Town Council.”

Looks like he has the same kind of hold here in Floyd and he’s not even on the job yet.

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