CM search is underway

Published 9:16 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

GATESVILLE – The search for a new manager for the County of Gates is officially underway.

And for some of the veteran members of Gates County local government, they have seen nine individuals (full time or interim) in the County Manager’s seat since 2005.

After last week’s unexpected resignation of Jon Mendenhall, Gates County’s Board of Commissioners have launched an effort to find a new manager.

Henry Jordan, chairman of the Gates County Board of Commissioners, said Mendenhall’s decision to leave for the Town Administrator’s job in Carolina Shores was totally unexpected.

“It caught us by surprise,” Jordan said. “Jon has done some good things in the short period of time he was with us, but now has chosen to go elsewhere. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

As far as a replacement, Jordan said he and the remainder of the five-member Commission have already started that effort.

“We’re looking to bring in an interim manager, hopeful to have someone in place for a couple of weeks while Jon is still with us,” he stated. “I’ve already touched base with one possible candidate; I’ll know more about that possibility this week.”

Mendenhall has agreed to remain as Gates County Manager through March. His new duties in CarolinaShores begin April 1.

Jordan added if that candidate does not work out, then the county will use NACO (National Association of County Commissioners) and the NCCCA (North Carolina County Commissioners Association) to advertise the interim position.

And it isn’t the first time that local government leaders in GatesCounty have used outside resources to search for a CountyManager.

According to Roanoke-Chowan Publications records, GC Manager Mark Biberdorf left the county at the end of the 2005 after accepting a position as town manager in Fletcher, NC. That bought in Tim Russell in early 2006. He remained with Gates County on a part-time basis until resigning on Aug. 14, 2007.

The county’s Finance Officer at that time, Melinda Hoggard, served as Interim County Manager upon Russell’s departure. She was named as the full-time Manager in January of 2008, but left in April of that year after her husband’s job was relocated to Wilmington.

Paul Gregory came onboard in late April, but remained as Manager for only four weeks, forced to resign due to health reasons.

Justin Hembee and John Ed Whitehurst tag-teamed to serve as Interim Managers until Gates County hired Toby Chappell in October of 2008. He remained as full-time Manager until Nov. 9, 2012, leaving to take the management position in Greenwood County, SC.

Kenneth Windley served as Interim Manager from late October of 2012 until Mendenhall came onboard in January of 2013.

According to the Brunswick Beacon, Mendenhall’s starting annual salary in CarolinaShores will be $75,000. That base salary matches exactly what Mendenhall was paid annually in Gates County. The county also paid his health/dental/vision insurance. He was also guaranteed $2,700 annually (or $225 per month) as a vehicle allowance.

In Carolina Shores, Mendenhall succeeds former town administrator Mike Hargett, who resigned in November to start a new job as Brunswick County’s new planning and community development director, according to The Beacon.

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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