McQueen: Hamlet ‘at a crossroads’

Councilman weighs in on status of looming city manager vacancy

By Kevin Spradlin

Help wanted: A city manager with at least a master’s degree in public administration to oversee the daily operations of a city of 6,500.

Potential candidate: Hamlet native, 43 years old with master’s in public administration. Former city employee.

Without a name attached, it would seem City Councilman Jesse McQueen might be as good a candidate as any for the soon-to-be vacant position of city manager. City Manager Marchell Adams-David, long thought to to be on the verge of resigning or being fired since the November election, resigned Monday. Her last day is Aug. 22 and by month’s end is scheduled to begin her new job as assistant city manger with the city of Raleigh.

But with his name — well, that’s where politics comes into play. And in Hamlet, they play hard.

Less than 48  hours after Adams-David’s resignation became public, McQueen wasn’t about to be baited into such a discussion. Rumor had it, McQueen was told, that the councilman was considering stepping down from the council and applying for the city manager’s job.

McQueen’s initial response seems to antagonize his critics, then seems to slam the door shut on such a scenario — only to leave open, however slightly, exactly that possibility.

“Are you serious,” McQueen asked when told of the rumor. “I’ll tell you this: in honor of them, I have no comment.”

But McQueen, a former Hamlet city police officer, hasn’t been once to duck questions since being elected to his second term on the council in November. He previously served on the council from 2005 to 2009.

Has it crossed your mind?

A considerable pause.

“You know, I can’t say yes and I can’t say no,” said McQueen while traveling to help supervise a mountain getaway with the Boy Scouts. “I do have a degree in public administration. Eventually, I would like to put that degree to use. I enjoy working in the public sector. But as of today, I have no plans to resign from the Hamlet City Council.”

Critics will say “as of today” will leave open such a possibility.

“I’m just enjoying life,” McQueen said. “I’ve got a successful business.”

Two of them, technically. McQueen is owner of G&B Distributor, which handles distribution of Little Debbie snack cakes in the area, and is co-owner of T&G Storage which primary serves as a holding facility for G&B Distributor.

With an interim police chief and a lame-duck status for both City Manager Marchell Adams-David and Hamlet Depot and Museum Manager/Downtown Coordinator Miranda Chavis — she resigned a day after Adams-David, and listed her last day the same as her boss’s, Aug. 22 — the city of Hamlet is in flux. McQueen offered a terse “no comment” about either personnel move — any one position is just as important as any other, he said — but acknowledged in an interview with The Pee Dee Post on Wednesday that the city is “now at a crossroads.”

“The decisions that we make will definitely be our legacy as this council unfolds,” McQueen said. “I look forward to making good, positive changes. We’ll be judged on it years from now. The outcome will speak for itself.”

Sounds like someone who remains committed to playing an integral role in the future of Hamlet — in one capacity or another.

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  • John Thompson

    All I can say is “WOW”. Who would have ever thought that Mr. McQueen would be in this position. He has been knocked down a few times, but he always jumps up quickly and asks what he can do to help the little town of Hamlet. I don’t think Hamlet is going to suffer from these resignations. We have some good people in this town and I know they will step up, take charge and get things in order.

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