Interim Manager Named
Cary McSwain, a management consultant from a South Carolina-based firm, will become Moore County's new interim manager Oct. 9.
After a closed session lasting almost 90 minutes Monday morning, the Moore County Board of Commissioners agreed to hire McSwain at an annual rate of $138,750, to be pro-rated according to his time of service and including working five-day weeks at eight hours a day and his expenses while on the job.
"He's a senior war horse who's been around the block a number of times," said Commissioner Tim Lea after the Monday meeting.
Lea said he was pleased with the selection and called McSwain a man with considerable experience in local government management.
In addition, McSwain has ties to Moore County. He lived in Carthage as a youngster.
In a telephone interview from his office in Blytheville, S.C., Tuesday morning, McSwain said that he is looking forward to working with the people of Moore County and the challenges of administering a county of such diversity.
"There are a lot of great people here in South Carolina, but there are also great people in North Carolina, and I especially look forward to working in Moore County," McSwain said.
McSwain served as county administrator for Richland County in South Carolina from 1994 until his retirement Nov. 1, 2005. Richland is the county that includes Columbia, the capital of South Carolina and the city that his partner, Miles Hadley, served as city manager for a number of years.
Their firm, McSwain & Hadley, provides public management services, including interim services.
The firm has offices in Blytheville, a small town off Interstate 77 north of Columbia.
Born in Rowan County, McSwain moved with his family to Fuquay-Varina, then to Carthage, where he lived until about age 3. The family later moved to Albemarle, where he grew up and graduated from high school.
Started in Criminal Justice
McSwain holds a degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and master's degree in public administration from N.C. State University.
His career actually began in the criminal justice field. He served as a police officer in Greensboro for nine years, then chaired the Department of Police Science at Gaston College, where he specialized in forensic technology. He founded a criminal justice academy there and worked in both fields for a number of years.
McSwain served 15 years as assistant manager in Gaston County before accepting the Richland County administrator's position in South Carolina.
Once he settles into the interim position in Moore County, McSwain said one of his first tasks will be that of applying for a North Carolina hunting license.
"We think we have a good candidate here. Mr. McSwain will make sure we have a good transition, and we feel this is in the best interest of the county," said Chairman David J. Cummings during the brief period the board was in open session.
Cummings said later that he and two other retiring commissioners more or less let Lea and Commissioner Colin McKenzie take the lead in selecting the interim manager. Cummings and Commissioners Michael R. Holden and Virginia W. Williams are leaving the board in December and will be succeeded by the winners of the November general election. Lea and McKenzie will serve another two years.
McKenzie made the motion to appoint McSwain, Lea made the second, and the vote was 4-0. Holden did not attend the special called meeting.
After that vote was taken, another motion, also by McKenzie with second by Lea, was made officially to accept the resignation of David Cotton as interim manager.
Waiting for New Board
Cotton announced in August that he was resigning to accept the manager's position in Haywood County. He has served as interim manager since Steve Wyatt resigned earlier this year to become Henderson County manager.
"We feel that our loss of David Cotton is Haywood County's gain," said Cummings of Cotton's decision.
Cummings also thanked fellow board members for their cooperation in working diligently to find a successor to Cotton.
With a new majority taking seats on the board in December, the present board decided in late spring to delay action on appointment of a new manager and to leave that duty up to the new board.
Lea said he expects McSwain to serve in the interim capacity for six to nine months, giving the new board time to recruit candidates for the full-time position.
County manager is one of four appointments made directly by the Board of Commissioners. The other positions are those of clerk to the board, county attorney and tax administrator. All other employees are hired by the manager or by department heads in keeping with personnel policy.
The Monday meeting was the third at which the commissioners had discussed candidates for the interim position. The board held a special meeting, also closed to the public, on Sept. 11, when one candidate was interviewed. A second candidate was interviewed in a closed session held at the end of the regular meeting Sept. 18.
Cummings said that he made personal contact with McSwain at a meeting of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners last month.
The other candidate was provided through the Institute of Government.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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