MANCHESTER — When Councilman David M. Warner resigned from the Town Council earlier this month, he already knew that a $400-a-week job with the town government would be waiting for him.
The 51-year-old, first-term councilman had been discussing such a post with his fellow council members in closed session for months.
Warner was named the town's first-ever projects coordinator minutes after tendering his resignation from the $500-a-year council seat on Jan. 8, as a unanimous vote of the Town Council approved a 90-day contract with the one-time director of transportation for the CarrollBoard of Education.
Under the contract, Warner is to rewrite several town documents, clean up language in several town development standards and create a new set of procedures for the town's water and sewer departments.
The move, widely considered to be a step toward creation of a full-time town manager position, comes as the town findsitself in the middle of development pressures.
"We needed him because we basically had some things around the town that needed to be done," said Mayor Earl A. J. "Tim" Warehime Jr. "And many of those things are in line with a town manager's job."
Warehime said Warner'swork will "put town procedures down in writing" and will make life easier for Manchester officials, employees, residents and developers.
The 90-day contract with Warner -- which expires April 10 -- is expected to be renewed for another 90 days. All told, the two contractswould be worth $10,280.
Warner's new post was neither advertised nor announced to the public beforehand; no residents were present at the Jan. 8 meeting.
The town charter requires that all contracts valued at more than $6,000 be put out for public bid. Since Warner's contracts are separate 90-day, $5,140 agreements, they did not have to be announced or put out to bid.
"These are exactly the kinds of things that Warner can do very well," said Councilman Geoffrey S. Black, who also is an attorney in the Carroll State's Attorney's Office."But if the nuance in what you're suggesting is a home-cooked deal to hire a manager behind closed doors, then I don't think that is accurate."
Black said such a position, if created, would take months of public debate by the council, and depends on the political makeup of the town. Warehime faces re-election in May.
For his part, Warner has expressed reservations about accepting a full-time manager's position.
"I'd like to do all I can for this town," said Warner, a Manchester resident for the last five years and an area resident for the last 20. "But, if I became a manager, I could end up having to forfeit my retirement benefits. And I don't want to do that."
Warner spent 25years with the county Board of Education -- 12 years as a teacher and 13 years in transportation.
In signing the contract with the town,Warner created yet another council vacancy, the third in less than six months. His seat is expected to be filled at the council's Feb. 12meeting.
In August, Councilwoman Diane D. Maddox resigned when she moved out of town. Hampstead Town Manager John A. Riley will serve her term, which expires in May.
When former Mayor Elmer C. Lippy Jr. became a County Commissioner, the council seat left open when Warehimetook his place was filled by Charlotte B. Collett. She faces re-election in 1993.