ASHEBORO — Will Massie, for years the Randolph County finance officer and assistant county manager, was appointed the interim county manager following the retirement of Hal Johnson.
The action was taken at the Jan. 2 meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Johnson was recognized for his 48 years of service to the county, the last decade as county manager.
Citing NC General Statute 153A-84 which “provides that when the position of County Manager is vacant, the Board shall designate a qualified person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of County Manager until the vacancy is filled,” board chair Darrell Frye introduced a resolution appointing Massie to the interim manager role. The resolution was passed unanimously by the board.
Frye said the county is in the process of doing a major search for a new county manager. In the meantime, an interim position needed to be filled.
The resolution notes the retirement on Dec. 31, 2023, of Johnson and that Massie has served as assistant county manager for a period of time. It goes on to say, “... the Randolph County Board of Commissioners finds it necessary to appoint an Interim County Manager in order to promote the continued orderly and efficient administration of County affairs.”
The resolution adds that Massie will “be vested with the powers and duties of County Manager as set out in North Carolina General Statute 153A-82 until such time that the Board shall fill the vacancy of the County Manager.” Also, Massie “is authorized and empowered to act on behalf of the County which includes those powers and duties set out in North Carolina General Statute 153A-82.
“All matters and things heretofore done, performed or acted upon by (Will Massie) on behalf of the County while serving as Assistant County Manager are hereby ratified and authorized.”
As Massie took a seat beside the chairman, Frye immediately introduced a revised succession plan to be exercised in the absence of the county manager.
The Order of Succession Policy states: “In case of absence or incapacity of the County Manager and in the absence of contrary direction from the Chairman or majority of the Board of Commissioners, those named below in order of succession are hereby authorized to make all decisions of an administrative nature which are normally made by the County Manager, including decisions involving expenditures of budgeted funds if the proper conduct of County business or an existing emergency warrants a decision to be made prior to the Manager’s return. In reaching such decisions, the successor shall be guided by what is known to be Board policy, County Manager policy, and customary practice.
“In cases of civil disturbance or natural disaster, the successor shall make every effort to notify the Manager, the Chairman, and/or members of the Board of Commissioners for guidance and direction.”
The order of succession, approved unanimously by the commissioners, is 1. Will Massie, assistant county manager/finance officer; 2. William Johnson, assistant county manager for operations; 3. Paxton Arthurs, county engineer.
In other business, the commissioners:
•Approved the naming of new roads as recommended by the Randolph County Planning Board after it conducted hearings. The six roads are located near the Toyota Battery Manufacturing Plant west of Liberty.
The new roads are:
— Michael Lee Lane from the intersection of Old Red Cross Road and a new state road to the intersection of Shiloh Road.
— Old Red Cross Road from the intersection of Old Red Cross Road to the intersection of Shiloh Road.
— Pierce Denny Road from the intersection of Julian Airport Road to the end.
— Camela Way from the intersection of Dogwood Way to the end.
— Dogwood Lane, a new road going into the west side of the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
— Dodson Lake Road, a new road going into the south side of the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
•OK’ed the purchase of six Dodge Durangos by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Greg Seabolt told the commissioners that the new vehicles were needed to replace those coming off patrol with “well over 100,000 miles.” He said the old ones are so worn out that they can’t be resold as excess inventory.
Bidding for the new vehicles was done under the NC Statewide Vehicle Contract; Performance Automotive has been awarded its bid of $258,592.98. The funds are in the Sheriff’s budget for 2023-24.
•Authorized the purchase of three Chevrolet Tahoes by Randolph County Emergency Services. The bid of $171,126 was from Modern Chevrolet of Winston-Salem.
Emergency Service Chief Donovan Davis said the Tahoes are quick-response vehicles and the contract pricing is from the NC Sheriff Association’s competitive bidding process.
•Received the annual report from the Randolph County Tourism Development Authority.
Amber Scarlett, TDA executive director, said that in 2022 visitors to Randolph County spent $178.63 million, an increase of 4 percent from 2021. Tax revenue distributions to the TDA were $1.343 million, a 16 percent increase from the previous year.
Scarlett said the total payroll generated by tourism in the county was $42 million with more than 1,130 direct tourism jobs. Total state and local tax revenues from visitor spending resulted in tax relief to each county resident of $86.20.
•Agreed to transfer a portion of a state grant of $4 million to the Northwest Randolph Human Services Project and $1 million for the principal payment for the Rural Health Stabilization loan.
The Northwest Randolph Human Services Project will receive a transfer of $3,245,875 from the Hospital Psychiatric Renovation Capital Project.
•Heard the annual audit report from April Adams of Cherry Bekaert LLC. She said the audit gave the county a clean opinion, “the highest level we can give.”
•Agreed to hold the commissioners’ annual retreat at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at Randolph County Cooperative Extension at the Hillside Center on South Fayetteville Street, Asheboro.