05/26/04 — Fremont hires town administrator

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Fremont hires town administrator

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 26, 2004 2:04 PM

FREMONT -- The town administrator of St. Pauls was hired Tuesday night to for the same job in Fremont.

Kerry McDuffie, 32, accepted the Fremont town board's offer of a starting salary of $41,983 to succeed Tom Barnes. McDuffie will start as soon as possible, perhaps in early June.

Barnes, the town administrator since 1997, retired in February but remained on a part-time basis. He said he may work about 10 more days to assist McDuffie in the transition.

McDuffie said he had seen an ad for the job in the League of Municipalities newsletter, sent an application and was one of three finalists called in for an interview last week. There were more than 20 applicants.

McDuffie said Fremont was "a nice place. It seems to be a good place to live and work. The council was nice enough to extend me an offer."

He will undergo a six-month probationary period. If he completes the term successfully, he will get a 5 percent pay raise.

Other terms in the hiring agreement, announced by Neil Mallory, the board's contracted adviser, included a $500 moving allowance; $100 a month for travel expenses in Wayne and Wilson counties and other travel expenses in accordance with town policy, and annual leave of 10 days after the first year and 15 days thereafter. He also got a two-way termination policy under which the town would pay him 60 days' salary if he is terminated and, if he resigned, he would give 30 days' notice.

The Town Board of Aldermen met in closed session for almost an hour and a half in crafting the agreement. When the board re-emerged, Alderman Sylvester Artis offered a motion to hire McDuffie, and Alderman Leon Mooring made the second. The motion passed unanimously.

A native of Fayetteville, McDuffie earned a a bachelor's degree in psychology and criminal justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master's degree in public administration from Appalachian State University in Boone.

McDuffie interned in Cary and then was an assistant to the town manager of Troy, in Montgomery County. He served as village administrator of Tobaccoville, in Forsyth County, for three years before spending two years in St. Pauls, in Robeson County.

McDuffie is single. His parents, sister and brother-in-law still live in the Fayetteville area.

The new administrator has a handicap. He does not see well enough to pass a driver's test and rides a moped around town.

"I don't want people to get the wrong idea," he joked. "I didn't lose my license, and I don't want them to think I'm not smart enough to pass the driver's test."

If he must travel a long distance, he will ride with a department head or town employee, a citizen with similar interests or a retired person.

"I deal with it as it comes along," he said.

McDuffie said he was ready for the challenge in Fremont after six years of experience in municipal government, including leading the staff of two other municipalities.

"I'm looking for the opportunity and the challenge of being the town administrator here in Fremont," he said.