Mendenhall to lead Gates County

Published 9:55 am Friday, January 4, 2013

GATESVILLE – North of the border…that’s the direction in which the Gates County Board of Commissioners took in finding the county’s newest top administrator.

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Commission Chairman Henry Jordan announced the hiring of Jon Mendenhall as Gates County Manager effective Jan. 14.

Jon Mendenhall

A native of High Point, Mendenhall has spent the past 20 months as the Deputy County Administrator in Southampton County, VA.

“I am grateful to the Gates County Commissioners for their confidence in my ability to lead the county,” said Mendenhall on Thursday. “Gates County is a vibrant community that has taken positive steps to secure a bright future and I look forward to continuing that stewardship for the Board and the community; I am very excited to be a part of the Gates County team.

“With the leadership of the Board, I look forward to continued success for the county and its residents. Starting with my first local government position as a County Planner in Stanly County (NC) I have had a strong desire to serve the public motivated by the ideals of stewardship, performance excellence, and continuous improvement. As a planner, it was important to vision a tomorrow that is better than today and it is that simple vision as a planner and now as a manager that I hope to share in partnership with the residents of the County. I believe that Gates County is in an excellent position today and that through hard work, diligence, and perseverance tomorrow can be even better.”

Mendenhall, who was approved on Wednesday by a 5-0 vote by the Gates County Commissioners, is an undergraduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and a graduate of East Carolina University with a Masters in Technology Systems. Additional studies in Project Management have been completed at NC State University.

Prior to his current job in Southampton County, where he was hired in April of 2011, Mendenhall served as Director of Engineering Services for Albemarle, NC; Planning Director for Tift County, GA, and County Planner for Stanly County, NC.

“This gentleman has an exceptional background in local government and will be a real asset to Gates County in the future,” said Jordan. “His experience in budgeting, grant writing, management, engineering, planning, water and sewer systems, GIS, computer operations and transportation gives Gates County a person with many talents.  Best of all, however, is his ability to be a real people person who can relate to the citizens of Gates County.”

Jordan added that Mendenhall emerged as the top candidate for the job following several rounds of interviews among as many as 14 applicants.

There will be a “Meet the Manager” event open to the public from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Merchants Millpond State Park Visitor Center.

“We will have a reception at that time and give everyone a chance to speak with him,” said Jordan.

According to his employment contract with Gates County, a copy of which was obtained by this newspaper, Mendenhall will receive an annual salary of $75,000 plus health/dental/vision insurance. He is also guaranteed $2,700 annually (or $225 per month) as a vehicle allowance. The county will also pay Mendenhall up to $3,000 to relocate from Southampton to Gates County. He is required to have a primary residence in Gates County within six months.

Mendenhall’s starting salary in Southampton County was $65,144 annually.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Interim Gates County Manager Kenneth Windley formally tendered his resignation effective Jan. 18.

“I will spend one week with Mr. Mendenhall and help with the transition,” said Windley, who served in this leadership role following the departure of former Gates County Manager Toby Chappell in early November. Chappell left Gates to accept the County Manager’s job in Greenwood County, SC.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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