It has all happened behind the scenes and many Guilford County officials aren’t even publicly acknowledging the fact, but Guilford County Deputy Manager Clarence Grier is no longer working for the county.
Grier may be on the payroll while his vacation and other available accrued time runs out – but Grier will not be back at his job.
One source said that a letter was recently sent to staff in the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services which indicated Grier was gone but did not come right out and state it.
The Rhino Times noticed that Grier was not at the Board of Commissioners Thursday, Jan. 21 meeting and asked about his absence. The answers given were very vague and evasive and now it’s clear why.
On Friday, Jan. 29, when Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston was asked if Grier was gone, he acknowledged that Grier was no longer with the county.
When asked about details regarding Grier’s exit from Guilford County government or any specifics surrounding the event, Alston said he couldn’t provide any information.
“We have been told not to comment on it since it is a personnel issue,” Alston said.
Grier was hired as Guilford County’s deputy county manager in February of 2015. Before that, he served as an assistant county manager for Orange County.
Just about every action that takes place in local government in North Carolina is subject to open records law. However, personnel matters and personnel records are an exception, so there’s no official reason why Grier is no longer in the job as the second in command in Guilford County.
While county officials aren’t making any comments on the record about Grier’s departure, it didn’t come as a surprise. Grier was the right-hand man of former County Manager Marty Lawing – who was shown the exit door by Alston and the new Democratic majority on the Board of Commissioners just days before Christmas of 2020. The Democrats held a majority of the seats after the winning commissioners in the November election were sworn into office in early December.
Lawing was hired in 2013 by the then Republican majority on the board. When Lawing resigned one month ago, it was notable that Grier – the deputy county manager and the obvious choice to be made interim county manager by virtue of his position – wasn’t named interim county manager by the Board of Commissioners.
At that moment, most county observers who were paying attention knew that Grier’s future days with the county were very limited.
Alston didn’t see things eye to eye with Lawing and the same can also be said when it came to Alston and Grier. There was often a tension between Alston and Grier and the two even occasionally clashed in public at meetings over the years. It was no secret that the two men had their issues with each other.