The Pender County Manager, Mickey Duvall, announced Wednesday he will be leaving his job and heading for Western North Carolina. Duvall is expected to leave on June 9.
The Chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners says it is not official yet, but most likely the Assistant County Manager and Finance Director, Butch Watson, will take over as the interim manager. Williams said that Watson does not wish to stay the County Manager permanently and the board will begin the process of hiring a replacement.
Duvall was hired in February of 2012. Unconfirmed reports from media sources suggest that Duvall will work with the Council of Government in Franklin, NC, but when we asked Duvall, he would not tell us what his new job will be. He said he wants to wait until everything is finalized. Duvall wouldn't say anything more about his decision to leave, but he did make the following statement:
"I have enjoyed working with Pender County Government and the Citizens of Pender, North Carolina. I feel we have made much progress working together during my tenure as County Manager, Chief Budget Officer and Clerk to the Board."
Commissioner Jimmy Tate said Duvall has done wonderful things for the county. He said he was shocked and sad to hear that Duvall will be leaving.
Tate went on to say that while he understands Duvall's decision, he is "frustrated by the revolving door of county managers."
According to county officials, there have been four county managers in the past 9 years, including Duvall. There have been three interim managers during that time.
Tate argues that hurts the county. He said the hiring process is costly and it takes time to both find a replacement and train the new manager, getting them familiar with the staff and the county.
"I'm very frustrated and concerned that it seems to me that our county has become a revolving door for county managers, it is certainly not a good thing," Tate said. "I don't think that's good for economic development, I don't think it's good for staff, morale, and for board of commissioners even, to learn different managers and how to work with them, that's a problem."
Tate went on to say that he hopes "we do everything we can to make sure the next leader feels comfortable, and will want to stay in Pender County and not be attracted to another place because they aren't comfortable staying here. That we make it as comfortable as possible for the next leader."
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