For Christmas, Guilford County Manager Mike Halford may be asking Santa for more office space on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House.
On Monday, Nov. 15, the county announced that it had hired not one, but two, new assistant county managers – Erris Dunston, a city administrator from Wilmington, and Victor Isler, the social services director from Forsyth County.
At times in the past, Guilford County government has gotten by without even having one assistant county manager – however, the latest hirings bring the number to three. The two new assistant county managers join Assistant County Manager Jason Jones, who was hired in March of this year to lead the county’s “Quality Government” efforts.
The selection of Dunston and Victor came after what county officials say was an extensive national search.
Dunston worked previously as an “Assistant to the City Manager for Economic Development / LGBTQIA Liaison” in Wilmington.
Isler had been leading the Department of Social Services in Forsyth County as well as handling other duties.
Dunston will be overseeing Guilford County’s “Strong Community” initiatives, while Isler will oversee something that the county is calling its’ “Successful People” effort. Those interesting program titles are new to Guilford County government just like the people who’ll be leading them.
A statement from Halford in the November 15 press release provided insight into why Halford thinks three’s a charm when it comes to assistant managers.
“Their combined experience will significantly supplement and bring new perspectives to our existing leadership,” Halford stated. “My intentions behind a three assistant county manager system are to provide strategic alignment, consistency, and support among departments. This structure is consistent with those taken by similarly sized organizations and will allow the county to address its priorities and goals much more effectively, more quickly, and with more impact.”
Halford’s first day as Guilford County Manager was in early January of this year after former County Manager Marty Lawing stepped down just before Christmas with some encouragement from Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston. This year, Halford has been restructuring some parts of the county’s government.
According to the Monday press release, Halford has “been working to reorganize the County’s executive leadership team to offer more focused oversight to further the County’s initiatives.”
Dunston has already begun working for Guilford County. Isler will begin on Monday, Nov. 22.