Mecklenburg County commissioners are set to hire the county’s first female manager at their regular meeting on Tuesday, sources close to the manager search said Monday.
The board members spent last Friday and Saturday interviewing five finalists and had their preferred choice by the end of Saturday, the sources said.
One source said the decision to hire was unanimous. Another said that it was initially a split 5-4 vote but will be unanimous when the board votes in open session on Tuesday.
Neither source would name the new manager, or where she is from.
She will be the fifth person to hold the top post, replacing longtime County Manager Harry Jones, whom the board fired in May.
Since then, interim manager Bobbie Shields has run the county. Shields was a candidate for the job but didn’t make the final five. He told The Observer last week that he plans to retire once the new manager is installed.
Recruiters for the county began scouring the country for candidates in August. They originally brought in 17 for interviews by a search committee of four commissioners. That list was cut to nine, then five.
The new hire should bring to an end nearly a year of tumult that began even before Jones was fired and escalated after the board voted 5-4 to terminate him.
Some commissioners who felt that Jones needed to go didn’t like the way he was fired.
After former Chair Pat Cotham told Jones that he’d been terminated, she wouldn’t let him speak and told him to leave the dais. He wasn’t allowed to return to his office to box up his belongings – instead, they were sent to his house.
During the search, current Chair Trevor Fuller complained publicly that the process lacked transparency, particularly after the search committee began to interview the 17 original candidates. He said the full board needed to be involved in all interviewing.
In the end, the full board interviewed only the five finalists.
Fuller also said he felt there should be public input into the choice, but apparently there won’t be any.
The board will hear details of the new manager’s contract in closed session on Tuesday, then convene in open session and vote, the sources said.
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