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Hembree hired as interim

GATESVILLE – After months of searching, Gates County government has secured the services of Justin B. Hembree.

Hembree, a native of western North Carolina, will serve as Interim Gates County Manager. In the meantime, the Gates County Board of Commissioners will continue their search for a permanent manager, a position that has not been filled since the departure of Melinda Hoggard in late April.

A veteran of county and municipal government, Hembree comes to Gates County after serving in similar roles in the western part of the state. He has held the ranks of Mitchell County Manager and Henderson County Assistant Manager. Hembree has also served as Town Manager for Taylorsville, the county seat of Alexander County located in west central North Carolina.

Currently, Hembree owns a management firm specializing in local government.

Hembree is a graduate of Appalachian State University where he holds a BS degree in Community & Regional Planning and a Masters Degree in Local Government Management.

The Gates County Manager’s office has seen its fair share of faces over the past two years.

After the departure of Hoggard on April 25, retired Perquimans County Manager Paul Gregory Jr. agreed to step in on an interim basis. However, citing health reasons, Gregory left that position in late May.

In order to get the county through the annual budget process, retired Bertie County Manager John Ed Whitehurst helped Gates County for a brief period prior to Hembree’s arrival.

Hoggard was formally named as Gates County Manager in January of this year after serving a brief time as the interim. She was employed with Gates County government in October of 2004 at which time she came onboard as the county’s finance officer, working with then county manager Mark Biberdorf and later with Tim Russell. Biberdorf left Gates County at the end of 2006, replaced by Russell who resigned as interim manager in September of last year.