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County Manager Wood announces plans to retire

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

Lincoln County Manager George Wood has announced his impending retirement, with plans to remain at his post through the end of June.

The announcement came during Monday’s Board of Commission meeting, during which Wood addressed the board with the news.

“After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided it is time for me to retire,” he read aloud from a prepared letter.

Wood, who has been with the county since 2008, said he would like to stay on board through the end of this fiscal year in order to finish budget preparations for 2013-2014.

He said this would also allow him to wrap up various outstanding projects, including water negotiations with the city of Lincolnton, a decision regarding a shell industrial building and discussions underway on a tri-county metropolitan planning organization.

“I have enjoyed my association with Lincoln County and the elected officials of this community,” he noted. “This board has demonstrated a willingness to deal with very difficult issues as we confronted a five-year economic downturn and its declining revenues. … You have also made large strides in economic development. I believe that the county is better positioned to deal with renewed growth once the economy improves.”

He said he believed the county has become financially stable, while also touching on facility and utility-system improvements made in the last few years.

“I want to commend Assistant County Manager Martha Lide, and all of the management staff,” he added. “In my opinion, Lincoln County has one of the best management staffs in North Carolina. They have been the people most responsible for carrying out the improvements in our operations.”

“It has been an honor to work with you,” he said.

Wood noted that he had mixed emotions about the decision, but that ultimately it came down to knowing when it’s time.

Chairman Alex Patton and Commissioner Jim Klein, who have served on the board throughout all of Wood’s years of service, thanked and commended him for his work as county manager.

“You kept this board on track,” Patton said.

“You’ve done Lincoln County well since you’ve been here,” Vice Chairman Carl Robinson added.

Commissioners briefly discussed the next step regarding a search process to replace Wood. Having previously used the Centralina Council of Governments as a go-between to help narrow down top applicants for the position, they agreed to look into this option again in terms of cost and go from there.

In other Board of Commission action at Monday’s meeting:

  • Following a public hearing, the board unanimously agreed to a road-name change for Burton Wood (spelled as two words rather than one) Lane.
  • Commissioners unanimously agreed to changes to the county’s personnel policy, limiting medical insurance and retirement coverage for new hires after July 1.
  • Commissioners unanimously agreed to set a public hearing regarding debt issuance for their May 6 meeting at 6:30 p.m.
  • Commissioners instructed Zoning Administrator Randy Hawkins to look into a complaint from Scott Knox, general manager and developer of Verdict Ridge Golf and Country Club and Community, regarding the number of off-premise directional signs allowed by the county’s Unified Development Ordinance. Currently, only three are permitted, but Knox requested that that number be increased to help attract more interest in the subdivision and to encourage builders.

 

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