The Guilford County Board of Commissioners didn’t take long to name a new Guilford County manager after the resignation of former County Manager Marty Lawing on Thursday, Dec. 17.

That same night, the board approved hiring former Guilford County Budget Director Michael Halford to be the next top administrative leader of the county.

Halford, who was highly respected in Guilford County government when he headed up the Budget Department, left that job in April of this year to become the assistant county manager of Gaston County.

Halford, who probably just got finished moving all of his stuff to Gaston County just west of Charlotte, will now have to pack all those things back up in the SUV and bring them back to Guilford County.

Halford, who started his job in Gaston County in May 4 at a salary of $172,500 a year will be paid $226,000 in his new job as Guilford County manager.

Halford had served as Guilford County’s budget director for 15 years before his exit.

In the years before he left Guilford County government, Halford became more and more outspoken at meetings and he and was not afraid to warn the commissioners whenever he thought the county’s spending was getting too high given its resources. For instance, he would guard against a tendency of commissioners to raid the county’s savings account – known as the “fund balance.”

As budget director, Halford did much of the heavy lifting when it came time for putting together a proposed budget for the Board of Commissioners to tweak and adopt each June.

When Halford resigned as Guilford County’s budget director earlier this year, that move surprised many and, at that time, no one, including Halford, could have known he would be back by the start of 2021.

One reason Halford may have taken the job as assistant county manager of Gaston County was to get on the track to be a county manager, perhaps to be the county manager of Gaston County.