HUNTERSVILLE – At 2:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 – less than 20 hours after being charged with misdemeanor simple assault stemming from a family altercation at his home in the Skybrook neighborhood – Gerry Vincent’s resignation as Huntersville’s town manager became official.
The town board convened an emergency closed session at 1 p.m. at Huntersville Town Hall. One-hundred minutes later, the board returned to open session and, after a motion by Commissioner Dan Boone, voted unanimously to accept Vincent’s resignation, effective immediately. Commissioners then adjourned the meeting without additional comment.
Vincent, 51, had been a part of the town’s municipal administration since October 2007, when he joined the staff as assistant town manager. He stayed in that position until January 2017 when he was appointed as interim town manager to fill the post vacated by Greg Ferguson. The “interim” tag was removed in July 2017 when the board approved Vincent’s promotion to town manager.
Following Monday’s board meeting, Mayor John Aneralla said the town board decided to call the emergency session after learning of Vincent’s arrest the night before. He added that a review of the Huntersville Police Department’s arrest report led to the decision to seek Vincent’s resignation.
“The town holds all employees to a high standard,” Aneralla said in response to questions about Vincent’s departure. He said he was limited about what he could say about personnel matters but added he had gotten to know Vincent well and they had developed a solid working relationship.
On a personal note, Aneralla said he was “disappointed in how events unfolded” and added that he “always thought highly of Gerry, and I hope he and his family are able to work through these issues.”
Aneralla said Jackie Huffman, finance director and assistant town manager, would assume supervision of town administrative operations. He added that a search for a new town manager is planned.
Sunday evening arrest
At 6:58 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21, Huntersville police responded to a 911 call about an altercation on Brandie Meadow Lane, at a house owned by Gerry and Sherry Vincent. According to Huntersville police reports, the victim was an 18-year-old male family member who sustained bruises and scratches but did not require medical treatment.
Gerry Vincent was taken into custody, processed and charged with simple assault. A magistrate released Vincent, and a court date is pending. The charge is a low-level misdemeanor charge carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The day after his resignation, Vincent expressed remorse about the incident and asked the community for understanding.
“This is a private, family matter,” he said, “and I hope everyone will appreciate we are asking for privacy.”
He added it is difficult to accept his tenure with Huntersville has ended, but he leaves with good thoughts of how the town has progressed.
“I worked for the town for more than a decade,” he said, “and we achieved a lot. I’m very proud of the accomplishments made, and I’ve very proud of the friendships I have developed.”
“I appreciate the opportunity I had to serve Huntersville,” he added.
Many hats for Huffman
Huffman, who joined the town staff as finance director in April 2016 after 16 years in Cornelius, was named assistant town manager in October 2017. That appointment carried a 90-day “interim” period that ended Jan. 23. The day before that, she became the de facto town manager when Vincent resigned. It’s an assignment she believes she is equipped to handle.
“As finance director, I’m already pretty well-informed about each department’s operations,” she said about her potential enhanced role in town administration. “I believe an actual designation as acting or interim town manager has to be a town board decision, but I think it’s absolutely fair to assume that’s what will happen.”