Quitting before the job starts

HOPE — One day before Tom Morton was scheduled to start work as Hope town manager, the Franklin resident informed local officials that he had taken a different job.

The 62-year-old former deputy director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns informed Hope officials in a letter received Tuesday that he considered the other position a better fit.

Morton could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Town council members met Wednesday to consider their next step.

Council president Clyde Compton said the turn of events doesn’t leave the town back at square one — at least not yet.

“We will contact another person we were high on the first time we took applications,” Compton said. “If he still has interest, we’ll do a second interview.”

If that applicant is no longer interested, the position will again be posted on the website of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, the council president said.

With a $51,000 annual salary, Morton was supposed to assume administrative responsibilities formerly held by Melina Fox, who resigned Feb. 5.

That involves overseeing and managing the town’s day-to-day operations.

Compton said he first began to question Morton’s commitment to the position shortly after his selection was announced and approved May 16.

Following the meeting, Compton learned that Morton had not signed the contract. Instead, he took it to his attorney to have it examined, Compton said.

While describing the matter as disappointing, Compton said it will not result in any interruption of ongoing town operations and projects.

“It’s a bump in the road,” Compton said. “We’ll overcome it.”

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.