Months after manager’s death, Holly Springs has new head of staff

akenney@newsobserver.comSeptember 5, 2013 

— Four months after the death of its town manager, Holly Springs has hired a permanent replacement for the late Carl Dean. The town’s administration has picked a man who knows the job well: Chuck Simmons, the former assistant manager who worked under Dean for 12 years.

Dean died in May of an apparent heart attack, collapsing at a town golf tournament. The town quickly appointed Simmons as interim manager, tasking him with the day-to-day administration of the town and larger jobs, such as inter-municipal negotiations.

Staff and elected officials launched a full search for the town’s next manager, but they ended back at Town Hall on Tuesday night.

“We had some really good candidates, with quite diverse managerial skills. It was really encouraging,” said Councilman Tim Sack. Of all the candidates, Simmons already was familiar with “Carl’s vision” for Holly Springs, Sack said, and had shown his capabilities as interim manager.

“He has shown in the last few months ... that he was up to the job and had the support of the department heads,” Sack said. “He was the right man for the job at this time, so he was a unanimous vote.”

Simmons, 50, became Holly Springs’ assistant manager in 2001, as the town began a decade of practically exponential growth. He left a job as town manager of Erwin, N.C. for what he saw as a chance to join a fast-growing town.

“I was excited about the potential that the town had for growth and development,” Simmons said.

A native of Lenoir, N.C., Simmons holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Appalachian State University. He began his career as a planner and budget analyst for Burke County in 1986, became town administrator for Boonville, N.C. in 1989, and took the Erwin managerial post in 1990.

Simmons predicts few changes in course for Holly Springs as he takes his new permanent position. With more than a decade in town, he said, he already has had a role in many of Holly Springs’ current policies and decisions.

The town did not immediately make available information about Simmons’ salary.

Kenney: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @KenneyOnCary

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