Interim County Manager Chosen for Top Job
The Moore County Board of Commissioners has named Tax Administrator Wayne Vest the new county manager.
Vest, who has served as interim county manager since December, was chosen during a closed session meeting prior to Tuesday's regular meeting of the board.
The new manager said he foresaw "no big changes" in his new role.
"I plan to continue to work with the board and county department directors to facilitate the plans they have for the county," Vest said. "We've got the budget coming up, which is a big project, of course, and will just be doing what needs to be done as we finish out the current fiscal year."
Vest initially took the place of the late Jim Westbrook, who died in an automobile accident on Nov. 27, the day after Westbrook began his duties as interim manager. The previous county manager, Cary McSwain, retired Nov. 30.
Commissioners' Chairman Nick Picerno praised Vest as the person that board members hoped would accept the county manager position.
"Wayne was an early favorite of the board, even before I was re-elected and Randy Saunders became the newest commissioner," he said. "We are glad he has agreed to join us."
Picerno said the board, convinced that Vest was the best choice for the position, never reached the interview stage with other applicants.
"Wayne works well with the board and with other county departments, and to me he was the obvious choice," Picerno said.
Other board members congratulated Vest on his new position.
"This is a great day for Moore County," Commissioner Larry Caddell said. "There are a lot of people who don't know you as well as we do, but we already know that you will do a great job."
Commissioner Jimmy Melton said that Vest's credentials reflect well on all county employees.
"When I look back on Wayne's outstanding service to the county, it speaks well to have this caliber of person to promote (from within) to the position of county manager. We are fortunate to have him."
In other news, Moore County Board of Elections Director Glenda Clendenin recognized precinct officials and presented a report on the 2012 general election to county commissioners.
"It is our honor and privilege tonight to have with us some of our precinct officials from the 2012 election," she said, referring to the large audience behind her. "This represents between one-third and one- half of everyone who participated."
Clendenin then introduced Board of Elections Chairman Ansel Graham and board member Susan Adams. In addition to the election board members, staff and election workers, she also thanked the county property management department and the Sheriff's Department for their assistance.
"We couldn't do what we do without them," she said, calling for a round of applause. "With a full-time staff of three, it would be impossible for us to 'get the job done' without the help of other county departments. We thank all the county departments and administrators that help make our job easier, and we appreciate your support and for what you do to ensure democracy."
Clendenin also addressed election results in the county.
"Some people said we couldn't surpass the 2008 presidential election (for the numbers of voters), but 2012 came awfully close, and we set some records here in Moore County," Clendenin said.
Moore County ranked seventh highest in the state out of all 100 counties in 2012, Clendenin said, with a 72.5 percent turnout versus 75.91 in 2008. The state average was 68.4 percent in 2012 and 69.93 in 2008.
Clendenin acknowledged the board as well.
"The Moore County Board of Elections wishes to express our appreciation to the Moore County Board of Commissioners," she said. "Through your support, we are able to deliver exemplary voter services and ensure this most precious right, the right to vote."
In other action, the board:
n Approved FirstCarolina Care to be the county's medical plan administrator, and the Ameritas corporation to serveas the dental plan administrator for county employees.
n Heard a presentation on the county's fire service agency evaluation and emergency service master plan from Ryan Pietzsch, education specialist for the Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Services Inc. A final report will be available by the end of March.
n Approved budget amendments that included a transfer of more than $4 million from the fund balance to the capital reserve.
"I would like to point out in these budget amendments that $4 million is being transferred," Picerno said. "I'd like to congratulate our department heads and employees for working really hard to keep costs down so that we can show $4 million of savings in our last year's budget.
"I think it shows a real good example of how government can be run."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@the pilot.com.
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