Guilford County government has a new county manager for the New Year; and that man, former Guilford County Budget Director Michael Halford, said his first day on the job will be Monday, Jan. 4.

 He added that he’s eager to get to it.

Halford, who served as the long-time budget director for Guilford County until leaving in March of 2020 to become an assistant manager for Gaston County, was hired to be the new county manager by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners last month after former Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing resigned. 

For the last two weeks, Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller has been serving as the interim county manager.

Halford wasn’t gone from Guilford County long but he’s looking forward to his return.

“I’m excited to be heading back,” Halford wrote in an email over the New Year’s holiday weekend.

With a pandemic still raging and a lot of major county capital projects in the works, Halford will face his share of challenges.

Before coming to work for Guilford County as budget director, Halford began his government career working in the budget office of Gaston County in 1993.  He served as Gaston County’s interim budget director before leaving that job in 2003.

Halford’s work as Guilford County budget director was considered excellent, and, when he left earlier this year to go back to Gaston County, many Guilford County commissioners and top county staff said they were sad to see him go.

  Halford has been awarded the John “Jack” Vogt Lifetime Achievement Award by the NC Local Government Budget Association and his work has been recognized and honored in other ways over the years as well.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said this week that, when it came time to look for a county manager, Halford was a no-brainer.  Alston, a Democrat, said that the Republican county commissioners hated to see Lawing leave. However, Alston added, they felt much better about the situation after finding out that Halford would be the new manager.