08/06/14 — County to hire assistant manager

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County to hire assistant manager

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 6, 2014 2:06 PM

Wayne County commissioners on Tuesday opened the way for the hiring of an assistant county manager who would also serve as the director of emergency services for the county.

Commissioners reclassified the Office of Emergency Services director's position, clearing the way for its merger into a new office for an assistant county manager.

The OES director's office has been vacant since late May following the retirement of Joe Gurley, who has since been appointed to the commission.

County Manager George Wood told commissioners that the opening had provided an opportune time to merge the office with that of an assistant county manager.

Gurley had been making about $90,000 a year and Wood suggested a salary range of $81,165 to $126,590 for the assistant county manager.

Depending on the person's experience, Wood said he could have to start them higher than the beginning salary.

"This person would have a career goal to become a county manager and have the educational background for it," Wood said. "This person would be the acting manager in my absence."

The assistant manager would be hired by Wood, not appointed by commissioners.

Wood said commissioners had asked him if the county needed an assistant manager when he interviewed for the interim manager's job.

"Most counties this size (approximately 125,000) have one, at least one," Wood said. "I had one in Lincoln County, and Lincoln County is about 80,000 people.

"But I did essentially the same thing. I took an existing position and just beefed it up because you don't want to spend that kind of money as a totally new position. The way I have divvied up the duties here is I how I did it in Lincoln County."

That will allow the county to put five or six additional departments with the assistant manager and pay them a little bit more than what it had been paying for an emergency services director, he said.

"So it is the cheapest way to go with it," Wood said. "If you think about it, the OES director is already supervising four or five departments that is EMS, 911, animal shelter."

Also, at some points during his tenure, Gurley oversaw the county airport as well.

"So when you look at all of that he was already doing multiple departments," Wood said. "I am simply adding some more to that. Some of them are ones that take some time, but don't take as much supervision."

For instance, the Health Department and Department of Social Services directors report to their respective boards. They are not appointed by the county manager.

"We do their budget and that sort of thing, and it does take some involvement," Wood said. "The problem I have is that we have over 20 different departments and nobody can adequately supervise 20 (departments). It is just not possible from a time standpoint.

Wood said he would continue to meet with all department heads on critical issues.

The assistant manager does not have to be an expert in emergency services because he or she will have the staff under them to handle those operations, he said.

The assistant manager/OES director would supervise the emergency management director (E911 GIS and CAD infrastructure and public safety radio system, Animal Control Services, building security); EMS (Wayne NET and rescue squads liaison) and fire marshal (E911 Center operations and volunteer fire departments liaison).

The assistant manager also would be responsible for the human resources department, Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board, Region P Job Training Consortium, Eastern Carolina Council grantsmanship, Wayne Executive Jetport, Services on Aging, Veterans Services Office, Board of Public Health, Board of Social Services and Eastpointe Board of Directors.