05/09/06 — Duplin will start interviewing five for manager's job

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Duplin will start interviewing five for manager's job

By Turner Walston
Published in News on May 9, 2006 1:53 PM

Duplin County officials are getting closer to hiring a new county manager -- a job that is a little more rushed now that the county's second-in-command has tendered her resignation also.

County Manager Fred Eldridge has already left his job, although he is officially still in place while he finishes out his vacation.

Assistant Judy Brown will serve as county manager in the interim, but she has set June 21 as her retirement date.

Deadline for applications for the position was April 21. According to the county's Web site, the county manager position called for a bachelor's degree in business or public administration or a closely related field, with 5 to 11 years of experience in managerial or fiscal leadership experience in governmental policy.

"They had approximately 20 candidates," Ms. Brown said. "They have selected five for consideration, and at this point in time, a time has not been established to do interviews."

"It's more important now than ever to get someone that's got experience, that can come on board and get the job done," Commissioner Larry Howard said. "That's just my gut feeling, what we need to do."

Howard said he was surprised at Ms. Brown's announcement.

"But, you know, if she's got the time, and she's been there a long time, and if that's what she wants to do, then that's her. And I don't blame her because I can tell you, retirement is the best job there is."

An ideal candidate will have many skills, Commissioner Arliss Albertson said.

"We certainly need one that's highly-qualified and has expertise in a lot of areas, particularly in finance, personnel and all those things -- an array of qualifications within one," Albertson said.

The position of county manager requires familiarity with operations in many areas of county government, Albertson said.

"It's a matter of coordinating and bringing together all these people to make government function the best it can function, and that'll happen. I'm confident in that. I have a lot of confidence in the folks and all these department heads that run their different departments on a daily basis."

Albertson said there was no set timeline for hiring Eldridge's replacement.

"We try to move things along," he said. "It'll be soon, but soon can be two or three weeks."