More questions about Lance Terpenny

Lance Terpenny
Lance Terpenny

Lance Terpenny, Floyd’s new Town Manager, took an $80,000 pay cut to move from Christiansburg — where the Town Council told him to resign after saying they had “lost confidence” in his ability to serve their needs — but he’s not about to go broke.

New details of his severance package from Christiansburg shows he will collect about $290,000 from the town over the next 10 years while still drawing a $50,000-a-year salary from Floyd.

In addition, Terpenny will apparently continue to serve in two Montgomery County appointed positions that reportedly include additional monthly payments.

Lerone Graham at The Roanoke Times outlines Terpenny’s several package between now and 2020:

  • 12 months of salary ($128,750);
  • A $12,627.60 payout for accrued vacation time;
  • $210 a month in town-paid “service merit” payments until he turns 65 (Terpenny is 55);
  • “Sick leave divestiture” of $1,050.66 a month for 10 years because of unused sick leave.

In addition, Terpenny serves as chairman of the board of the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority, and, on Tuesday, was reappointed by his old bosses on the Christiansburg Town Council to the Christiansburg-Blacksburg-VPI Water Authority, a quasi-public agency created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1950. The authority pulls water from the New River, filters it, and then sells it to Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Virginia Tech as drinking water.

According to Christiansburg blogger Terry Ellen Carter, citizen reporter Elizabeth McCauley discovered the appointment includes a $300 stipend for attending monthly meetings.  In addition, Carter reports that the solid waste authority board job pays $350 for attendance at each monthly board meeting.

“I’m curious how the town of Floyd feels about their new Town Manager sitting on a board to represent his former employer and getting paid to do so during business hours,” Carter says. “We in Christiansburg are also wondering how much outside compensation he has received over the years for all those board assignments that we all thought was ‘part of the job.’ ”

Good questions. If Floyd’s new town manager continues to serve on two Montgomery County organizations it does raise conflict-of-interest issues. The deal that brought him to Floyd already has some town and county residents shaking their heads in disbelief. As more details emerge the questions mount.

(Edited on Aug. 10 to correct spelling of Roanoke Times reporter Lerone Graham’s name)

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22 thoughts on “More questions about Lance Terpenny”

  1. This information has little to do with Lance and much to do with how strange the divide between US and THEM. US is the taxpayers, THEM is the government on any level. THEY are oblivious to pretty much all the negative effects of short term policy decisions.

    Are all these perks and compensation levels necessary to fill the jobs? Does higher compensation truly result in a more competent employee? It’s not a secret that many take the jobs for the perks rather than the pay rate. Any tax rate increases are simply a bigger kickback to the boss that never has to figure out how to find revenue in a productive manner. So, we kick the can down the road and the sacred cows live on. Pretty much the opposite of Americans won’t take these jobs. The private sector eliminates perks and cuts compensation. Meanwhile, the folks with the blank checks keep spending and we can find a way to pay more for less.

    I’m not giving the public a pass because they often want things without any concern about the economics of getting whatever it is. Pandering lives on, not all broken promises are a bad thing.

    Fun times.

  2. It’s not Floyd that “hit the jackpot” by hiring Terpenny; rather, it appears that Terpenny has hit the jackpot by his own machinations and the laws (or lack thereof) that allowed him to do so. Darn, I was hoping he’d be gone in a year due to insufficient income.

  3. I thought I’d do some research into R. Lance Terpenny’s background. He seems to be a rather accomplished man spanning many disciplines. He also runs a custom chopper shop, has a black belt in karate and a degree in mechanical engineering. Seemingly he’s not simply some good ol’ boy that’s landed where he is by simply hand-pressing and schmoozing with folks. He surely has the acumen to tackle the problems associated with managing local government bodies

    Folks can read a bit about this man starting on page 8 of the supplied .pdf.

    http://www.vml.org/VTC/09VTC-PDF/09NovVTC_web.pdf

    Unfortunately due to the bad economy and massive unemployment throughout our nation many folks have become both envious and hateful towards those that are still employed especially those that enjoy high paying jobs such as government employees at all levels. City manager jobs across this nation pay rather handsomely compared to the private sector.

    This skewed pay phenomenon is rife throughout America’s local government sytem regardless of the type; ie., city manager, mayoral, or commissioners as in county and township cases. It surfaced recently that Bell, California’s ex city manager Robert Rizzo was being compensated just shy of $800,000 per annum…!? The discovery of his obscene compensation caused a public uproar and he resigned under pressure. Bell happens to be one of the poorest cities in California. The following link to an L.A.Times local article will supply background information concerning this pay debacle. It also adds fuel to the discussion of California’s insolvency relative it’s public employee retirement system which is in effect broke relative to its future commitments.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    Carl Nemo **==

    • That was a fun read. I’ll let everyone else decide what the common theme is. I wonder how many times he applied for Postmaster.

      I’m neither envious or hateful toward Lance, who I don’t know and I’ve never talked about with people that I know that know him. Good ole boy network doesn’t imply his lack of intelligence. He went to the University of Lemley and he was groomed as successor. I’m still unclear if the proper protocol was followed to end up in the Town Manager position.

      The rest is impressive puffing. He’s not the Town Engineer or Builder. Managing the projects is more or less drive bys and a call or two to ask the contractors, “How’s it goin fellas?”

      Smart planning is just tail chasing. Of course the water and sewage and roads need improvement. That’s not a choice. The question remains, where are we now in terms of capacity and where will money come from for new needs or expansion of those vital items?

      We’re seeing how well these things are planned as it relates to school infrastructure. This is how the towns impact the county and myself as a resident in Montgomery.

      It’s nice to read that the Aquatic Center will be easily funded just like those other re-investments. I’m sure there is no reason to be suspicous about his former relationship with VT Athletics and swimming. It should be named the Terpenny Swim Center.

      How many employees at the Chopper shop? He is a symbol of his type. I’d love to put a GPS chip on him and track his busy life doing the work of the people.

      Ironic that his first decision was to reject the starving artist direction. That must be the perfect fit for Floyd where many are trying to figure out how to succeed in that lifestyle.

      • I originally stopped by to post this. It’s more important than Lance’s income choices or how long he’ll stay or not. Maybe it’s a little off topic if this is just about Lance.

        Everyone should also be aware of yet another financial crisis. Unfunded and underfunded liabilities are headed this way real soon. Other portions of this article are about development and China could be replaced with any country or locality in terms of critical issues.

        http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/thoughts_from_the_frontline/archive/2010/08/06/the-problem-with-pensions.aspx

        What is Floyd’s realistic potential based on resources as vital as water? The Town Manager won’t and shouldn’t be the person to “Study it” for the next decade. You might get a bill for the effort though.

  4. The ‘service merit’ pay allowance for town employees in Christiansburg is being questioned by myself and others, in that the proposal was passed in 2005. Is there allowance for retro-active participation? I think not. Hence, only the years served after the measure was passed should be included for ‘service merit’, if at all. Most residents never heard of the measure; Council and others certainly kept it quiet.

    I have previously submitted notes in this post that pointed to the fact that I dreaded Terpenny’s role in ‘running’ the locale, in an adjunct manner, via affiliations with contractors and VDOT. Now, we are told of previously unknown details about serving on Montgomery County boards; direct conflict of issues/interest for any nearby employer.

    ..”city manager jobs…pay”…Neither Christiansburg, nor Floyd are cities.
    Black-belt in karate…is this acquired skill to be used to chop one’s hair off, if it gets stuck in a machine?
    …custom chopper….Yes, apparently that’s the skill-base that some may have, ‘chopping’ the public, or, is that a karate maneuvor?

    Other:
    Civil Engineers are the norm for cities. For areas that need an engineer, perhaps a person with a mechanical engineering degree is a pre-requisite that is accepted.

    I still JUST want to know where the $10million cost-overrun for a $7million ill-conceived hillside project went; AKA: AqCtr

    I realize there’s some sort of paper-trail for the AqCtr, but I would like full public disclosure. The last time I asked about cost-overruns related to another project in Christiansburg, I was told, ‘well, they’re ‘upstairs’…I asked them to go to the ‘attic’.,.they did. I received a very poor excuse for records in another multi-million-dollar pork-barrel scam. Some folks leave a lot of mud from their karate feet when they leave town positions.

    I’m not the only one that is asking for a comprehensive paper-trail of the AqCtr $17 million expenditure. Several people may be involved in total, but the ‘kingpin’ is Terpenny.

    It’s a beautiful day. Too bad there’s serious business to take care of. Very serious business.

  5. Hey Doug if Floyd is only paying him 50 K thats really not much, considering I made twice that driving a little brown truck, He has done very well for himself
    Lance you have set yourself up well with a lot of incomes and sounds like your a smart manl, I hope Floyd gives you a chance, but from what I see it’s gonna be a hard time.
    They don’t want to grow at all or have any thing to make the town a better place, and with that goes no jobs here, what buisness would want to bring a bunch of good jobs to a place that complains because all those tourist take up parking places,
    Floyd needs change and with that jobs, good paying jobs, it needs to grow and change to still be Floyd but not as it is now, it can be better, with good, planned, growth.
    I hope Lance or someone one day takes this town and county foward, and convince others to quit living in the past, it was great , is great and can be MUCH better, with good leadership.
    My hats off to you Lance, good luck it will be quite interesting, it’s really getting old hearing nothing but rap about you, and no real reason for it, seems you have negotiated good terms for yourself for quite a while as anyone who is smart would do .

    • Floyd doesn’t need to be a “better place”! It was perfect and now it is still a great place but , anymore changes to it and it will be messy like Christiansburg and Blacksburg. A lot of people do not even begin to appreciate a true small town and they surely wouldn’t know how to live in one. Not everyone is addicted to expanding and populating. Floyd could be in the quandry llike Christiansburg and be facing higher taxes brought on by people who like to spend other people’s money and then over do it and end up costing the area more than people can afford for things that people really didn’t want to begin with. Not very many people in Christiansburg wanted all the strip malls(some now mostly empty) or the big swimming pool,etc.

  6. To Bob Taylor: In case you haven’t noticed, the town of Floyd HAS grown, changed and evolved in the past five years — mostly for the better, in that the essential character of the town has been retained but it looks better and is now, truly, a tourist destination that has been featured in both national and international news articles.

    Regarding Terpenny, the duty of government employees is to serve the citizens. Terpenny may be “smart” with regard to his ability to obtain income from multiple sources, but that definition of “smart” might very well be referred to as “crafty.”

    Ratheer than having the best interests of the citizens in mind, he appears to be simply self-serving.

    My information regarding why the Christiansburg Town Council “lost confidence” in him had to do with the (still unexplained) excessive over-budget cost of the Aquatic Center, which necessitated the involvement of Virginia Tech. Thus, the Aquatic Center is now more of a VT facility than a facility for the citizen tax-payers of Christiansburg.

    • The aquatic center is a VT facility? I encourage you to take a trip to OUR aquatic center and check it out. Have you seen the recent meets that were there? Do you see who is using the facility regularly? VT has some lanes that are dedicated to them during certain times and will probably have the place rented out for a couple weekends for some of their meets. OUR aquatic center has been filled with citizens and you can barely find a VT swimmer. I’ve been going 3x/week since the place opened and have never had a problem getting in my laps. The first couple weeks were difficult since it was free and filled with people, but with slightly less people and management working out the bugs, it’s been fantastic. By the way, between their three meets in July, they brought in over 1500 athletes. Again, that was athletes. That’s not counting the parents, grandparents, friends, spectators, etc. That was also not including anything VT. Just think of the revenues between meals and lodging. If it keeps up, I bet the Town/Citizens will have it paid off early.

      • Doug: I did NOT say that the C-burg Aquatic Center was a VT facility. I said that “my information” (i.e., I was told) that because of the over-budget costs necessitating the involvement of VT, it had become “more of” a VT facility than a facility for C-burg citizens. That was the only expanation I had come across, either in print or in person, for why the C-burg Town Council had “lost confidence” in Terpenny — the “lost confidence” being a very important, missing piece of this puzzle. The reason that made the most sense to me came from one of your readers, in response to my comment, that the “lost confidence” resignation deal was basically a ploy. I would write moreof what that person wrote on Blue Ridge Muse, but I cannot type and read another’s comments on a Blackberry at the same time.

        As far as whether or not you went too far with your reporting on Terpenny, the jury is still out. Personally, I do not think you did. I appreciated the information you provided…and none of it was untrue, now was it?

          • Sorry, Doug Thompson! I have never seen another Doug’s comments on your blog, but perhaps he commented on topics which are not of interest to me. Thereare not many such topics except for NASCAR, spectator sports and motorcycles — aside from the relaxation aspect (of motorcycles, only).
            Now that you have made me aware of another Dougwho posts comments, I doubt I will make the same mistake again. I would not want to be subject to any dire consequences such as being banned from posting comments on your blog. If such were the case, I would likely have to resort to handing out fliers at the corner Locust and Main. ;>)

          • No problem. There are a lot of people named “Doug” out there and there are three — yes, three — Doug Thompsons in Floyd County. One teaches shop at Floyd County High School and coaches baseball and other sports.

            The tipoff should have come when the “Doug” referred to the Aquatic Center as “OUR” aquatic center. I would never claim the AC as mine. That’s Christiansburg’s problem. I’ve got enough to worry about here in Floyd. 😉

      • …”I bet they…will have it paid off early”…I hope so. If so, it would set a new precedent for the Town. The $10million cost-overrun is still very questionable.

        ..”just think of the revenues”….I’m ‘thinking’…I hope to see a tally from local merchants that shows the possible rise in sales; I guess it’s too early to ask for the info (same timeline sales from last year as a comparison tool, for example).

  7. The most pertinent question, in my opinion, is, “Why would the town of Floyd hire someone who had ‘lost the confidence’ of the Town Council of Christiansburg.”

    The answer, I believe, is “naivety.”

  8. There are now questions about a party pad in Florida. How can a person party in Florida and never take vacation days? It gets a lot messier by the day!!

  9. The “no confidence” appears to have been a ploy to allow extra benefits to kick in because it became “adverse separation.” People need to stay focused on the facts. These benefits were designed by Terpenny (who had longevity). There was never a contract of employment, he served at will.

    • Are the benefits retroactive or do they apply only to people hired after the benefit package conceived?

      • I have never heard of ‘retroactive’ deals. ‘Deals’ is the key word; logic and fairness to the citizens has not been of concern, thusfar.

  10. no wonder the town budget is in the shpe it is in.
    look at the idiots who are in charge. another fine example of ballengee and some of the other town officials being secretive and hiding financial matters from the citizens and hope we are all too dumb to find them. also the town council definitely have not done their job. how in hell can you TELL someone to resign or you will be terminated and then give them a shitload of taxpayer money?????

  11. according to Clay Mcoy,town human resources director, the service merit and sick leave divestiture are town appropriations,so these along with with $130000 gift should be able to be recinded without any problem. town council needs to obey the will of the citizens for ONCE and stop being members of the good ole boy’s club whose motto is ” i don’t want you around anymore but here is a shitload of taxpayer money to help you out”.

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