03/08/06 — Eldridge will leave job as manager in Duplin soon

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Eldridge will leave job as manager in Duplin soon

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 8, 2006 1:58 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County Manager Fred Eldridge resigned his post Monday to return to Ohio and perhaps find a new career in economic development.

Eldridge told county commissioners Monday afternoon he will stay on for several more weeks, but not through the budget process.

His wife, Cathy, has accepted a position in Toledo, Ohio, about 75 miles north of Lima, Ohio, where the couple lived before coming to Duplin County in 2003.

"They made an offer that as a family we could not walk away from," Eldridge said. "We decided to accept the opportunity, and I would become the trailing spouse."

The employment opportunities in Ohio are substantial, he said, and he has already received a number of inquiries from people who heard his wife, a consultant, is returning. She starts work at her new job April 3.

He has interviews already, and he believes it won't be long before he finds something. One of the interviews is in the private sector; another is for a job as an economic developer.

"Someone once said I'm a frustrated economic developer," he said. "It's a natural extension of what county managers do. Anybody in this kind of business is constantly looking for ways to grow their community. Call it what you want to, but most times, it's economic development."

Eldridge told county staff members about his resignation after he informed county commissioners, and then went home to River Landing to tell the neighbors.

"We've made a lot of nice friends," he said. "It's a great place to live and work. It's a family decision we had to make, and we will be leaving people we came to know and love."