At a Guilford County Board of Commissioners retreat last month, new Guilford County Manager Mike Halford spoke about his desire for the county to have another assistant county manager position – in addition to the one the county has had for years.
This week, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said the new position will be included in the county’s fiscal 2021-2022 budget that’s scheduled to be adopted by the board in June and go into effect on July 1.
Halford, who was Guilford County’s budget director for years before being made county manager in late December of last year, has spoken not just about adding the position, but also about a reorganization of the structure of the county’s government.
This week, Alston said he had been giving a lot of thought to Halford’s reorganization plan. Most parts of that plan haven’t been revealed publicly yet, however, as for adding a second county assistant manager, Alston said he was all for it.
“Yes, it will be in the next budget,” said the Democratic chairman of the board that became a Democratic-majority board after the November 2020 election.
Earlier this year, former Guilford County Deputy Manager Clarence Grier decided to resign from his job as deputy manager. That came soon after former County Manager Marty Lawing, who hired Grier in 2015, resigned.
In the November election, the Board of Commissioners that selected Lawing shifted from a Republican-majority board to a Democratic-run board. Several commissioners who selected Lawing to be county manager in 2013 were gone when the new board was sworn in in early December.
After Grier stepped down, Jason Jones, who worked for years as a budget analyst in the Guilford County Budget Department, was named the new assistant county manager by Halford – who changed the job title from “deputy manager” to “assistant manager,” in part because “assistant manager” better suggests more than one position of that nature.
Grier, who has already been hired by Roanoke City as the deputy city manager, never indicated why he left Guilford County government.
According to Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne, Guilford County government is very thankful for Grier’s six years of service in the county.
“Guilford County and Clarence made a mutual agreement to part and it was simply a matter of divergent circumstances,” Payne wrote in an email, “Guilford County remains grateful for all the work Clarence has done for the county and its citizens.”