Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland, who has been city manager since 2014, announced his retirement Friday, March 2 effective April 30.
Westmoreland came to work for the city as a transportation planner in 1996 and was named Greensboro Department of Transportation director in 1999, a job he held until 2008 when he was promoted to assistant city manager for economic development. He left the city in 2009 to become deputy director for transit for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and then worked for Stantec Consulting Inc. In 2012, he came back to Greensboro as the deputy city manager under City Manager Denise Turner Roth. When Roth left Greensboro to take a job as the deputy administrator of the US General Services Administration, the city promoted Westmoreland to city manager.
Westmoreland was named city manager under unusual circumstances – unusual in that the City Council had so much confidence in Westmoreland that no national search was conducted.
When Roth announced her resignation, Westmoreland was named interim city manager; but before he ever served a day in that position, the City Council removed interim from the title and voted 8 to 1 to name Westmoreland as city manager. Only Councilmember Jamal Fox voted no. At the time Fox explained that he had nothing against Westmoreland but that he believed the city should have taken more time before making a decision.
As it turned out, making Westmoreland city manager on the spot turned out to be a good decision because, before his first month in office was over, it was discovered that Roth had left something of a mess behind. The City Council had agreed to loan the International Civil Rights Center & Museum $1.5 million dollars under a long list of conditions, one of which was to submit a financial audit for 2012. Roth, however, had already approved payment of the first $750,000 to the civil rights museum despite the fact that the contract had not been signed and no audit submitted. Roth, as it was discovered, had also verbally given the museum an extra 30 days to produce the required audit.
So Westmoreland started off his tenure explaining to the City Council how a payment could have been approved with no signed contract. Before the month was over, City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan, who had approved the payment to the museum, had resigned. It is worth noting that yesterday, March 1, it was announced that the civil rights museum had completed the terms of the contract and the loan from the city has been forgiven.
On March 4, 2014, when Westmoreland had been city manager for just over a month, the City Council entered into an agreement to build what was then called the Greensboro Center for the Performing Arts and what is now the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts. No one at that time was predicting that construction wouldn’t start until 2018.
Westmoreland in his four years as city manager has only worked for one mayor, Nancy Vaughan, who was first elected in 2013. In 2015, the entire City Council was reelected. The tax rate has remained the same throughout Westmoreland’s tenure, so there has been quite a bit of stability while Westmoreland has been city manager.
Westmoreland said that retiring was “purely a personal decision.”
In a press release from the City of Greensboro announcing his retirement, Westmoreland states, “It has been my highest honor and privilege to serve the residents of Greensboro. I love this City, being a City employee, and serving the public. While I will sorely miss and always value the many rich experiences and relationships with the City of Greensboro, retirement presents me with an ideal opportunity to make a necessary shift in my life and career.”
Vaughan is also quoted in the press release, “Jim’s passion for City government and making decisions in the best interest of the residents, businesses, and City employees cannot be matched. It has been my pleasure to work alongside Jim over the past four years and his leadership of the City organization is to be commended. Replacing him will be very difficult and I, along with all of my City Council colleagues, only wish him the absolute best in his future endeavors.”
When he learned of Westmoreland’s retirement, former City Councilmember Mike Barber said, “Jim has been tremendously dedicated to Greensboro and it was an honor and a pleasure to work with him. He didn’t just serve our community, he served the State of North Carolina as well and is truly a transportation expert.”
Altogether, Westmoreland has worked for the City of Greensboro for over 18 years and has over seven years with NCDOT.
Westmoreland is one of the two city employees who work directly for the City Council, the other is City Attorney Tom Carruthers.
Westmoreland’s salary is $206,000 a year plus benefits.
He is a graduate of NC State University with a degree in civil engineering and he is a registered professional engineer.
Westmoreland started his professional career working for Kimley-Horn in 1988.