Interim title removed
WINTON – Effective July 1, David B. Cotton will no longer be the Interim Hertford County Manager.
The interim title will be removed on that date.
As part of their meeting’s agenda here Thursday morning, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of appointing Cotton as their permanent manager.
Cotton was initially hired as the Interim Assistant County Manager for a term lasting from Dec. 1-31, 2019. Then, upon the Dec. 31, 2019 retirement of long-time Hertford County Manager Loria Williams, Cotton has filled the role as Interim County Manager over the past six months while the commissioners searched for a full-time leader.
“We are excited today (Thursday), after a long process to search for the right person to lead our county’s day-to-day operations, to announce that we have offered Mr. David Cotton a contract to be our county manager. We welcome him onboard and look forward to him working with this board and our county employees and moving our county forward,” stated Commission Chairman Ronald Gatling.
Charles “Chuck” Revelle, a Murfreesboro attorney who serves as legal counsel to the commissioners, spelled out some of the highlights of Cotton’s contract with the county, which becomes effective July 1. Revelle said Cotton will “serve at the pleasure of the board,” meaning he can be terminated at any time. If that termination is without cause between July 1 and Dec. 31 of this year, Cotton will not receive a severance package. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, if Cotton is terminated without cause he would be offered a three-month severance package.
There would be no severance package if Cotton is terminated with cause at any point.
He is required to give a 90-day notice of a voluntary resignation.
Cotton’s salary is $150,000 annually. At the time of her retirement last year, Williams was paid $121,392 annually.
Cotton will have access to a county-owned car, which he can use for county-related business and drive to-and-from his home as long as that residence is in Hertford County.
When asked about his current residence, Cotton told the commissioners that he was currently renting a house in Ahoskie and was waiting for his wife to find local employment before the couple purchases a residence locally.
Upon finding a permanent residence in Hertford County, Cotton will receive a $10,000 relocation payment. He has up to one year to find a local permanent residence, according to the contract.
The motion was made by Commissioner Andre Lassiter to approve Cotton’s contract. Following a second, the motion was approved without objection.
“I am honored and humbled that the Hertford County Board of Commissioners has placed their confidence in me to serve as the Hertford County Manager,” Cotton later told the R-C News-Herald. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated staff to serve such an amazing community. I am looking forward to addressing the opportunities and challenges in Hertford County as a community.
“I am confident that with the Commissioners’ guidance and dedication of the incredibly talented staff, we continue to successfully navigate this unprecedented [COVID-19] pandemic,” Cotton added.
A veteran of the United States Navy where he served as an Explosives Ordnance Disposal Diver, Cotton has served in North Carolina local government since 1997. He has worked in both municipal and county management. For 17 of those 23 years, Cotton has worked in a management role.
Prior to his appointment with Hertford County, Cotton served Onslow County for approximately nine years as the Assistant County Manager, Deputy County Manager, and most recently as the County Manager until October of last year.
During his tenure with Onslow County, Cotton spearheaded and oversaw many key initiatives and projects, to include the county’s Health and Wellness Center.
Additionally he served as the project leader for the Onslow County Government Center, Environmental Education Center and Library at Sneads Ferry, the Public Safety Memorial, and Onslow County Courthouse.
Cotton was named as the Assistant County Manager of the Year in 2012 by his peers at the North Carolina City / County Management Association.
He is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), North Carolina City/County Management Association (NCCCMA), Appalachian State University Local Government Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as maintaining his credentialed manager status with ICMA (ICMA-CM).
He received his Bachelor’s Degree and Master of Public Administration from Appalachian State University.
Cotton said he constantly seeks ways to improve himself as a manager and leader, attending leadership courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Public Executive Leadership Academy), University of Virginia (Senior Executive Institute), West Point (Battle-Tested Leadership Strategies for Executives: Lessons from the Army & West Point), and Harvard University (Senior Executives in State & Local Government).