WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ The Chadbourn town manager, fired two months ago as he prepared to swear in a black police chief and then reinstated four weeks later, says he is resigning to take a job in another part of the state.

Steve Wyatt, whose firing touched off a rash of controversy, said Thursday he would become manager of Polk County.

''It was a hard decision to make and the kind of decision I didn't want to make,'' Wyatt told The Morning Star in Wilmington on Thursday. ''I talked to all my department heads yesterday and there was more than one tear shed.''

On March 18, Wyatt was fired amid charges that white council members wanted to let him go before he could appoint the town's first black police chief. The white council members said their unhappiness with Wyatt stemmed from his lack of communication with them, not his choice of a chief.

Before it was all over, Mayor Dick Tyler decided to resign, the black police chief was appointed and the mayor reconsidered and withdrew his resignation.

Wyatt, who was reinstated after threatening a lawsuit, said all had been forgiven but the dispute did play a part in his decision to quit.

''I'm not comfortable,'' he said. ''I think Chadbourn needs a manager that is comfortable with the board and one that the board - and all of the board - can be comfortable with.''

He said his last day at Chadbourn would be June 1.