Cotton Resigns as Manager
His resignation is effective Oct. 6.
"It's another sad day in Moore County," said David Cummings, chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners, who read the letter of resignation near the end of the board's Monday night meeting.
Cummings said Cotton has been "a good assistant manager and a good interim manager" and thanked Cotton for his service.
He said that Moore Co-unty has been fortunate to have a person of Cotton's qualifications and a man willing to undertake two jobs at one time.
"We're the losers," Cummings said.
Cotton is leaving Moore County to accept a lower-paying job. His new salary is set at $111,000 a year, compared to the annual $118,000 Moore has been paying since his appointment as interim manager in March.
However, Cotton says Haywood County has its attractions. For one thing, he has family in the area, including a recently retired mother.
"It was an opportunity that fell in place," Cotton said after the meeting. "Obviously, there will be challenges, but challenges are everywhere."
Haywood County has similarities to Moore. It has a tourism-based economy and a similar population. Haywood is home to such frequently visited municipalities as Waynesville and Maggie Valley. The manager's position became open in February.
"It's really a great opportunity," Cotton said.
Cotton was praised during and after the meeting. Co-workers said they were impressed with his efficiency and his concern for county employees and their families.
"I have really appreciated David's work," Commissioner Tim Lea said. "He has provided very positive leadership and I wish him the best and godspeed."
One source of information reported that Cotton has been in demand by communities elsewhere in North Carolina and in the country. One rumor has it that he received an inquiry from as far away as Colorado.
The commissioners and county employees were understanding about his decision, however, because of the existing uncertainty in the county's governing body.
Cummings, Vice Chairwoman Virginia Saunders and Michael Holden, a former board chairman, will leave office in December. They will be replaced by three newcomers in December.
Carthage Mayor Larry Caddell defeated Cummings in a May 2 Republican Primary. Cindy Morgan, wife of state Rep. Richard Morgan, defeated Saunders in another GOP primary. Holden, who did not seek re-election, will be replaced by the winner of a November election between Republican Jimmy Melton and Democrat Terry Marquez. No Democrats filed for the other two seats.
The position of manager is one of four appointments made directly by the commissioners, and the new board might or might not be interested in retaining Cotton.
After the meeting, Cummings said that the board had already decided to hold off on hiring a new manager, a task better left to the new board. He said that work would begin shortly on the process of attracting applicants for the manager's position.
Cummings said he hopes the present board can handle much of the preliminary work and make the results available for the new board to make a choice.
In the meantime, Cummings said, the county will ask the state for assistance in finding a qualified interim manager until the new board hires a full-time manager.
Cotton was named interim manager after Steve Wyatt resigned in February to take a similar position in Henderson County.
A graduate of Appalachian State University, Cotton was one of the first persons employed after Wyatt became manager three years ago. Cotton came to Moore County from Randleman, where he was town manager. Prior to that, he was manager for Lake Waccamaw.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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