Moving one space over

Published 6:43 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

WINDSOR – In an effort to increase management capacity within the County Manager’s office, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners approved the hiring of the county’s first-ever Assistant County Manager, and they didn’t have to look far.

On Friday, Bertie County Manager Scott Sauer announced the appointment of Juan Vaughan, II as the new Assistant County Manager with his duties set to begin officially on June 24.

Vaughan comes to Bertie County having served in a similar capacity in Hertford County.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Vaughan join our leadership group and provide added strength to our management team,” noted Sauer.

Juan Vaughan II has accepted the position of Bertie County Assistant Manager. Contributed Photo

Funding for the new Assistant County Manager was approved in the county’s 2018-19 budget.

Vaughan is a native of Hertford County and a product of Hertford County public schools. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and a Master of Science Degree in Mathematics from Elizabeth City State University.

After starting as a Patent Examiner at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA, Vaughan next spent over eight years at Roanoke-Chowan Community College in both administrative and instructional roles. For the past two years, he has been the Assistant County Manager in Hertford County.

“While leaving this position in Hertford County is bittersweet because this is home, I am very honored to become the first Assistant County Manager in Bertie County,” Vaughan stated. “There are a number of exciting and innovative projects I look forward to being a part of in Bertie County.

“These opportunities for growth on the horizon for Bertie County in addition to the challenges faced by rural counties in northeastern North Carolina piqued my interest in this position,” Vaughan continued. “It is very rewarding not only to be a public servant, but also to serve the people in my very own communities. I look forward to working with Manager Scott Sauer and the Bertie County Commissioners to impact the Bertie community in major ways.”

As the Assistant County Manager, Vaughan will serve as the chief administrative officer in the County Manager’s absence.

Sauer said that nearly 18 months ago, the Board of Commissioners suggested during a planning session that with the growing volume of projects the County Manager was overseeing there was a feeling the county needed to expand its management capacity.

At the Bertie Commissioners’ work session on Monday, Sauer introduced Vaughan and shared a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate his interest in this opportunity with Bertie County.

“We will look to Mr. Vaughan to manage and implement major projects, confer with department heads and County Commissioners to ensure adherence to project schedules and resolving problems,” Sauer explained. “Mr. Vaughan will also play a leadership role in updating the County’s Human Resources policies, professional development opportunities for staff and performance appraisal systems.”

“Ever since Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016, much of the county’s administrative focus has been on recovery work and coordination for efforts related to state and federal funds to assist citizens impacted by the devastating flood waters,” Sauer admitted.

“At the same time, county staff are administering grant funds to replace critical county facilities damaged by the flooding,” he noted.

“Our county staff have juggled multiple projects and have been balancing our efforts to work on new ones,” explained Bertie Commissioners chairman John Trent.

“We’ve worked hard to replace EMS Station One with a newly constructed building on County Farm Road which opened in February, and in addition to that project there’s work on the new Blue Jay recreation center and security improvements at the (Bertie County) Courthouse,” Trent added.

“We wanted to be sure that Mr. Vaughan will be an asset for the County Manager, and be certain that the pair will be able to form a strong working relationship,” said vice-chairman Greg Atkins. “I believe that we have achieved our goal.”

“The Commissioners felt we needed to support our county administration so that all of the Board’s priorities can stay on schedule,” explained Commissioner Ernestine Bazemore. “Each of the Commissioners needed to know that he will be a team player to support the county manager and to help carry out the Board’s priorities.”

“Bertie County has an aggressive set of priorities, and we must be prepared to add capacity to expand our productivity” explained Commissioner Ron Wesson. “Our new assistant county manager will likely take a lead role on the Teacher Housing Initiative, and other key projects.”

“We have put a lot on our County Manager, and as Commissioners we need to provide support and staffing to help carry the load on these projects,” said Commissioner Tammy Lee. “I have heard a lot of positive comments about Mr. Vaughan and we are lucky to have him join us.”

The annual salary for the Assistant County Manager is $80,000 and residency in the county must be established within one year.

Vaughan is married to the former Austin Hill of Bertie County. They have a five-month old daughter, Adé Alexandra.

Vaughan honed his local government management skills working in his home county of Hertford, learning the ropes under Loria Williams. She said his departure would be bittersweet.

“I sadly and woefully accepted his letter of resignation,” said Williams, the Hertford County Manager. “He and I talked about the opportunity awaiting him over in Bertie County. It’s a great opportunity for him; apparently Bertie made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

“He leaves us on excellent terms. We hate to see him go,” Williams added.

Ronald Gatling, Chairman of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, said he was also impressed by Vaughan’s work ethic while employed by the county.

“He did a great job for us,” Gatling noted. “Although we hate to lose him, I’m happy that this young man was given an opportunity to stay close to his home. It’s always good to see our local young people stay near home and make a difference. We wish Juan the very best in his future.”

As far as filling the vacancy left by Vaughan’s pending departure, Williams said even though she is responsible for choosing and hiring her assistant county manager, she would wait on instructions from the Hertford County Commissioners on how to proceed.

“It’s a budgeted salary position, but we are currently putting together our 2019-20 fiscal year budget (which becomes effective July 1), so all things are under consideration at this point,” she said.

(R-C News-Herald Editor Cal Bryant contributed to this story.)