Inside County Government

New head of Meck health and human services calls job his ‘ministry’

Anthony Trotman.
Anthony Trotman. Mecklenburg County

It’s 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and Anthony Trotman has yet another meet-and-greet on his calendar.

Trotman, 46, jumps up from the seat behind his desk – adorned with a diamond-shaped prism trophy that hails him as a “champion of children” – and greets his visitor in front of a large window that allows for a panoramic view of uptown Charlotte’s skyline.

He has occupied this office on the 11th floor of the government building for only a week. It has been a busy one that has included meetings with department directors, learning the nuances of how county government works and, he admits, getting lost in the Queen City.

Trotman, an Air Force veteran, is Mecklenburg County’s newest assistant county manager. He replaces Michelle Lancaster, who reportedly voluntarily resigned after 14 years on the job and took a job as assistant county manager in Union County. Trotman will make $185,000 a year and joins an executive team that includes three assistant county managers who report to County Manager Dena Diorio.

His job includes overseeing the health and human services division, which includes the social services, child support enforcement and public health departments. He comes from Franklin County, Ohio, where for nearly five years he was director of job and family services.

His latest role comes with 2,000 employees and a $270 million budget for Trotman to manage. For the layperson, it might sound like a heavy responsibility to shoulder – managing departments that tackle the community’s most sensitive topics and face the brunt of public scorn.

But for Trotman, it’s old hat. And, a calling.

“I have a passion for people; I have a passion to help people be in a better position in life,” he said. “This really is my life’s work. It’s my ministry.”

A Florida native, Trotman enlisted in the Air Force and took a job as an intelligence analyst monitoring missiles and helping develop strategies for war. He simultaneously earned a master’s degree in health services administration.

He landed a job for a healthcare company based in Durham before he relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where he segued into the public sector and served as chief of staff of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Now he’s in Mecklenburg, where his experience developing community-based centers fits with Diorio’s plan to create six community service centers that bring departments closer to clients.

So what are other things Trotman hopes to add to the mix?

▪ Strengthening the way DSS handles kinship placement – the practice of placing children taken from their parents with relatives they know

▪ Bolstering programs that help parents take active roles in their children’s education

▪ Helping reduce cycle of poverty with programs that spur child development “from cradle to career.”

Much of Trotman’s desire to help children stems from his relationship with his daughter, Camille, 13, who lives with her mother in Atlanta.

“My daughter is just awesome,” said Trotman, who basks in the girl’s repertoire: captain of the debate team, student council president, piano player in the orchestra and three-time national pentathlon champion in track and field. “She keeps me grounded and motivated to continue to try and help people.”

For the next few weeks, he’ll be on the hunt for fun father-daughter things to do, such as trips to Carowinds, or catching a Panthers game.

“And find a church,” he said. “Let’s not forget about that.”