Former Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne stepped down from that position on the last day of 2021 and now the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has scheduled a closed session in an effort to pick Payne’s replacement.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners will hold a special work session on Wednesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. to consider the matter.

The meeting is being billed as a virtual one but it will be conducted from the Bob Shaw Conference Room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro.

The county’s meeting announcement stated that the work session was being held “to immediately enter into closed session …to consider the qualifications of a prospective employee.”

The notice doesn’t state that the board is discussing the county attorney position. However, there are only a handful of county positions that are direct hires (and fires) of the board – and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston confirmed that the open county attorney slot was the one under discussion.

Interim Guilford County Attorney Matt Mason – who has worked on foreclosures, Sheriff’s Department cases and many other county legal issues – now occupies the spot on an interim basis.  The county keeps its job applicant names secret and it’s not known if Mason or other attorneys now in the county’s department are seeking the job.

Payne served as the Guilford County attorney for over a decade, but, in the year prior to Payne’s hiring, the county ran through six county attorneys.  Payne was fond of pointing out after his first year of employment that he had been the county attorney for longer than his previous six predecessors combined.

Hopefully the next county attorney will be on board for an extended period of time.