As the search for the next Ashe County Manager continues, the County Commission Chair and county employees are performing managerial duties.
“At the current time, commissioners plan to let County Clerk Ann Clark, and Board Chairman Larry Rhodes handle operations for the county,” said Commissioner Judy Poe Friday in an email to the Jefferson Post.
Department heads and other employees have also been filling in for the lack of a chief administrator. Rhodes on Sept. 16, praised county employees who have “definitely stepped up in the last few weeks…doing more than your job description says…”
Asked how many applications for the county manager position have so far been received, Poe said, “I don’t know how many applications have been received. Anyone wishing to apply for county manager…can apply through employment security commission.”
Ashe County has been operating without an official interim county manager despite statutory language requiring appointment of a board member to that position.
According to N.C. G.S. 153A-84, “Whenever the position of county manager is vacant, the board of commissioners shall designate a qualified person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of manager until the vacancy is filled.”
“The board may designate the chairman or some other member as interim manager; for the interim the chairman or member shall become a full-time county official, and the board may increase his salary,” the statute reads.
In a Sept. 13, Watauga Democrat article, Commissioner William Sands said, “I feel like personally that if we brought an interim in … they wouldn’t be up to speed enough to really help us that much. I don’t know of anybody around here in the county that could step in and be very helpful for the next 30 days or so.”
Rhodes said Friday he had been asked to step up. “I’m happy to do it,” he said.
Rhodes will not be seeking any temporary increase in pay for performing managerial duties, he said.