Abernethy’s appointment as city manager made official

24-year-old takes reigns of city of 6,500

By Kevin Spradlin

HAMLET — The Hamlet City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday in public session to appoint Marcus Abernethy as its new city manager.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Marcus Abernethy was appointed Hamlet city manager on Tuesday.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Marcus Abernethy was appointed Hamlet city manager on Tuesday.

Abernethy’s appointment became effective immediately. The council’s regular monthly public meeting began at 7 p.m. and after council members went through a handful of items, Abernethy took his spot on the long table between city attorney T.C. Morphis Jr. and City Clerk Tammy Kirkley, who held the position of interim city manager multiple times this year and since former City Manager Marchell Adams-David left for a new job in Raleigh.

The Pee Dee Post was the first to report Abernethy’s impending appointment. On Oct. 9, Councilman Pat Preslar called the council’s selection “an A-plus candidate.”

Both the council and four members of an appointed assessment panel reached the same conclusion, said Councilman Jesse McQueen. The assessment panel included Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump; Hamlet Human Resources Director; Dr. Rick Watkins, of Wingate University; Tammie Griffin, member at large; and a Jan Maynor, executive director of the Lumber River Council of Governments.

Mayor Bill Bayless, council members and others took turns welcoming Abernethy to Hamlet. When it came to departmental reports, Abernethy said he was thankful for the opportunity.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve this board,” Abernethy said the 24-year-old.

Abernethy said city residents and officials have shown him hospitality that reminded him of home, “and now it is home.”

“I look forward to the future,” he said.

The city has scheduled a meet-and-greet with Abernethy from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29. The event is open to the public.

Abernethy’s most recent job was with the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development. He wasn’t there long. Abernethy called it “a unique job,” one that he had reservations about even before accepting.RCT_loveletters

Plus, he said, “I did not expect to get it.”

Abernethy said he’s “known for years” that his heart is in local government management. “My heart is elsewhere,” Abernethy said he realized when leaving the Henderson County position. He resigned, and was unemployed for only three days when he was selected to be interviewed for the Hamlet job. He had previously responded to the city of Hamlet’s advertisement with the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

The Granite Falls native said he felt this position was “a calling.”

He appeared eager to get to work, the last city employee to leave City Hall after Tuesday’s public meeting. He said filling the vacancies of police chief, parks and recreation director and museum director are among his top priorities in the near future. Abernethy said the city can’t continue to run without “leaders and visionaries” in those positions.

Prior to his short stint with Henderson County, Abernethy served a four-month management internship with the town of Matthews. In his position as management analyst, he assisted with the creation of the town’s downtown comic development organization, helped update the departmental strategic plans and performance measures, assisted with budget preparations and adoption process by performing tax and revenue analysis, and assisted in the selection and hiring process for a risk manager as well as a communications director position.

Abernethy said he used “assessment centers” to help identify the top candidates for those two positions. Assessment centers consist of a panel of experts in the field of the job being filled. Panelists then run selected candidates through a number of scenarios and evaluate candidates’ responses.

He said he had no problem with the new requirement of having to live within city limits.

“As a manager of this community, I need to be a part of this community,” Abernethy said.

The hire was music to McQueen’s ears. He said the city is ready to move on from recent controversy.

“If I was on twitter, I would do ‘hashtag moving forward,'” McQueen said. “I don’t’ do the Twitter.”

Councilman Tony Clewis joked that Abernethy should be sure to call him “anytime between the hours of 7 in the morning and 7 at night” and noted that Wednesday “will be a happy day for Tammy” as she resumes wearing only a single hat for the city as city clerk.

Kirkley didn’t argue the point.


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