After a week on the job, Goldsboro’s new City Manager Tim Salmon has already been working on short-term goals he set for himself by meeting all the directors and supervisors of the different city departments he oversees.
“Now I’m going around talking to the individual directors who work for me about what their issues and concerns are, what are we doing well and what should we be doing differently,” Salmon said.
Salmon also plans to send out a survey to city employees to find out what they think of the organization. The feedback will be used by city leaders to better understand what is going well and what needs attention, he said.
Salmon, whose salary is $160,000, said his long-term goal is to make Goldsboro the standard for public service in North Carolina.
Goldsboro is one of 14 cities that participated with the N.C. School of Government Benchmark Study that analyzes different methods of government, like response times for police and fire, crime rates, bond ratings and budget management, Salmon said.
Salmon, who started on May 1, told city staff about his interest in using benchmark processes in an effort to be transparent and responsible to the citizens. He is also interested in eventually putting a dashboard on the city’s website so people can see how Goldsboro compares to other cities.
“I think when people see measurements they all kind of get on board with trying to improve,” he said. “If you don’t have any standards or you don’t inspect what you expect, then it’s kind of what you get is what you get.”
Salmon praised his predecessor, former City Manager Scott Stevens, saying he did a great job for Goldsboro from enhancing the city’s bond rating to bringing the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex and working, along with many others, on the downtown streetscape project.
“They are both very impressive projects that make someone want to come to Goldsboro, and that’s one of the reasons I came here,” Salmon said. “I’ve been all over the world, and I really like this small-town life where you can drive from one end of the city to the other in 10 minutes. Having been in Washington, D.C., you’re liable to only get a mile in 10 minutes.”
Another reason Salmon and his wife, Annette, decided to move to the area is because three of their four children are serving in the military in North Carolina.
His oldest daughter is at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville while his second daughter is flying MV-22 Ospreys at Salmon’s old air station, Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, where he was commanding officer. His son is driving light-armored vehicles at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, Salmon said.
Salmon’s youngest son is a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh.
Salmon’s wife was also in the Navy, and they both attended the U.S. Naval Academy.
Salmon was a Marine helicopter pilot moving Marines from ships to their objectives. At one point, he also worked at Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) that is responsible for flying the president, vice president, heads of state and Department of Defense officials.
While he was at HMX-1, Salmon got the opportunity to fly President Clinton.
“I picked him up on the White House lawn and took him wherever he needed to go,” Salmon said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a very interesting career. And when I retired, I wanted to be next to a military community. So here we are.”
Salmon said when he was commander at Marine Corps Air Station New River, his responsibility was to make sure the base supported all operations and to take care of the military families and all the services included in serving the families.
“It’s very similar to what a city manager does, whether it’s police versus fire versus public works, administration, parks and recreation — Marine Corps Community Services is what we called that — social services, the whole nine yards for a community of about 18,000 Marines and family members,” he said.
Goldsboro’s population of 36,000 is twice as large as the air station, but managing the city is very similar to what base commander colonels are doing at Seymour Jonson Air Force Base, Salmon said.
Salmon said he plans to work closely with the air base in the future to make sure the city is meeting the base’s needs.
Salmon said when he retired from the Marines after 32 years of service, he did try to just take it easy. But that only lasted a month before he got bored, he said.
After waiting since September, when the former Goldsboro manager retired, city residents got the opportunity recently to meet their new city manager.
Salmon and his wife held a meet-and-greet at the Goldsboro Event Center from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. City employees, citizens, elected officials, first responders, military personnel and state representatives lined up to meet the new manager.
Councilman Gene Aycock, who attended the event and helped select Salmon for the job out of nine candidates narrowed to four, said he thought the new manager was going to do good things for the city.
“If you would have heard the interviews (of candidates for the job) – compared with the others we interviewed, there was no doubt,” Aycock said.
During the interview, Salmon told councilmen the problems he saw with Goldsboro, and provided details about the city, which showed he did his homework, Aycock said.
“It will take him a little while to understand who to talk to and work with,” Aycock said. “But I think he is going to be as good or better than Scott Stevens (former city manager).”
Greg Shackelford, regional executive with Southern Bank, said he was impressed with the turnout during the meet-and-greet.
“I think it shows how much this community supports officials, city and county officials,” he said. “We’re all just so proud of where we live and work, and I think this is just another recognition of that.”
Freshman N.C. Rep. Raymond Smith Jr. said he attended the event to meet Salmon, offer his support and lend any assistance he could to help make Goldsboro a community everyone wanted to live in.
After meeting Salmon, Smith said he was impressed.
“I was struck by his demeanor,” he said. “Very professional. He reminds me of my father, who was also a United States Marine.
“I look forward to working with him.”
Salmon completed his military career in August 2018 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, as the U.S. military delegation acting chief of staff and a strategic planner, where he received a Defense Superior Service Medal and a Joint Service Commendation Medal for his actions.
Salmon, a New Jersey native, has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.