After an extensive search process, Guilford County has named a new county attorney.
Following a closed session on Thursday, June 16, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Andrea Leslie-Fite to fill the job. She’s been an attorney representing local governments in North Carolina for a decade and a half and she currently serves as the city attorney for Shelby, North Carolina.
After the vote, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that Leslie-Fite rose above the competition and did so early in the process.
“I think she was in the lead from early on,” Alston said, adding that she comes highly recommended.
“I talked to the Shelby mayor yesterday,” Alston said. “He was way down – he didn’t want her to go.”
Shelby is the county seat of Cleveland County west of Charlotte near the South Carolina border. The city has a population of about 20,000.
Leslie-Fite will now represent a county with north of 540,000 people.
Actually, she won’t start the job until Monday, Aug. 22, so it’s possible she has significant summer beach plans like many North Carolinians do this time of year,
Interim Guilford County Attorney Matt Mason is currently leading Guilford County’s legal department.
According to information on Leslie-Fite provided by the county shortly after the selection announcement, she’s certified to practice law in North Carolina – a good thing because that’s where Guilford County happens to be. She is also certified to practice in the Western District of North Carolina and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Before taking a job as the city attorney in Shelby, she worked as a senior assistant city attorney for the City of Charlotte, where she focused on Human Resources litigation as well as advising various citizen boards on procedural matters.
She also served as the assistant county attorney for Cleveland County government.
Leslie-Fite will be replacing former Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne, who served as the Guilford County attorney for over a decade after a year in which Guilford County government ran through six county attorneys in one year.
In a prepared remark, Leslie-Fite, who was not at the July 16 county commissioners meeting, stated, “I am excited to join Guilford County as the new County Attorney and to bring my experience in North Carolina local governments to support the critical functions of the county. Guilford County is an exciting, diverse, and growing community and it is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as County Attorney.”
Leslie-Fite serves in various legal and professional societies and she’s a 2020 International Municipal Lawyers Association Fellow – a designation that recognizes attorneys who’ve demonstrated excellence in local government law.
Like many top-level Guilford County employees, she’s a UNC Tarheel: She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She got her Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central University School of Law.