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Hoggard named GC Manager

GATESVILLE – Gates County has a new county manager.

At last week’s meeting, Gates County Board of Commissioners Chairman J.S. Pierce formally announced that Melinda Hoggard had agreed to remove “interim” from her title and accept the position on a permanent basis. Hoggard had served as interim county manager since August of last year.

“I appreciate the confidence that the county commissioners have in me to do this job and I look forward to serving the needs of the citizens of Gates County,” Hoggard said.

Hoggard, a native of the Elm Grove community in Bertie County, has worked with Gates County government since October of 2004 at which time she came onboard as the county’s finance officer. She will also staff that position until the county can hire a new finance officer.

“We will begin advertising for that position this week,” Hoggard said.

After graduating from Bertie High School in 1997, Hoggard went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting from East Carolina University in 2001. She held positions with two accounting firms n Perry, Pittard & Crone in Ahoskie and Goodman & Company in Newport News, Va. n before coming to Gates County.

As finance officer, Hoggard worked with Gates County’s two previous managers, Mark Biberdorf and Tim Russell.

“I learned a lot about county government from both Mark and Tim,” said Hoggard, who becomes Gates County’s first-ever female county manager. “I think Tim was my biggest mentor. He had worked in a larger county before coming here and he brought a lot of new ideas that we incorporated into our system of government.”

Hoggard said it was her goal to improve on what Russell had started.

“We were able to adopt many needed policies while Tim was here, but there is always room for improvement,” she said. “There are still a lot of things we can do to make Gates County better. A capital improvement plan is one big thing we need to work on.”

As far as becoming the first woman to sit in the county manager’s chair, Hoggard said she did seek advice before agreeing to the job.

“When Tim made the recommendation for me to take the job as the interim, I asked him did he think Gates County was ready for a female county manager,” Hoggard recalled. “He told me that a lot of counties had females in positions of leadership, including department heads and county managers. Tim said he felt I was ready to take on this job.”

Pierce agreed.

“Tim was grooming Melinda to take the job when he left,” Pierce said. “He told me that she would be ready to step up to the next level of county government and he was right, Melinda is doing a terrific job.”

What really made Pierce happy that Hoggard was willing to take on the job was she was already an employee of Gates County.

“I’m all for promoting a person from within,” he noted. “Melinda is very capable of doing this job and she interacts well with the other county employees, the citizens of our county and regional and state government officials.”

Another plus in Pierce’s eyes is Hoggard’s desire not to stand still.

“She’s willing to attend classes that will allow her to learn more about county government,” Pierce concluded. “With that added training and the desire to better herself, she can lead us to new heights here in Gates County.”