Bryan named interim county manager
Joey Bryan, left, answers a question from the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners at Monday's meeting while Vickie Freeman King, the board's clerk and administrative assistant to the county manager, listens. Bryan, the assistant county manager, was named the interim county manager. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News
Lenoir County Assistant County Manager Joey Bryan has impressed the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners so much they have named him the interim county manager while they search for the replacement of Mike Jarman.
Bryan, 54, has worked for the county since 1990 in a variety of roles, mostly in the information technology field. He has been the ACM for the past three years. His promotion to interim county manager was a unanimous decision by the commissioners – and an easy one for them to make.
“We believe and I believe he has done an excellent job,” Commissioner Roland Best said. “He’s been filling in and doing the work already. We anticipate he will keep some continuity.”
Commissioner J. Mac Daughety agreed with Best’s assessment.
“It wasn’t a hard decision at all,” Daughety said. “We needed someone to guide us through this interim period who is experienced and knows what’s happening in the county. We’ve been leaning on Joey off-and-on the last 30 days.
“We’re in good hands until we can find the next county manager.”
County Commissioner Chairman Craig Hill pointed to the respect Bryan has earned from the commissioners and the community as an impetus for his selection.
“Joey has been a part of this organization for a long time and is well-respected,” Hill said. “He knows the budget inside and out and works very hard in that area. It was an easy task for us to transition him to interim; he’s a very valuable employee and we’re fortunate he is willing to step up and do this.”
Hill said the commissioners hope to have a new county manager hired by December or January.
While Best and Daughety each said they feel Bryan is likely not interested in removing the “interim” from his title, Bryan said he hasn’t fully made up his mind yet.
“That’s kind of a loaded question; I only have about two-and-a-half or 2.7 years until I can retire, so I really don’t know if I’m interested,” Bryan said. “I think the county might be better served by someone local who will be here long-term because there is so much going on downtown and in the whole county at large. But I honestly don’t know yet.”
The man Bryan is replacing – Jarman – was honored at Monday morning’s regular meeting by the commissioners, a board room packed full of grateful county employees and his family. Jarman was also surprised by N.C. Rep. George Graham and N.C. Sen. Don Davis, who presented him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Gov. Roy Cooper.
Jarman, too, was pleased that Bryan was named interim manager.
“It’s hard to transition out of this job – it’s a 24-7 kind of position,” Jarman said. “It’s a whole lot easier to know there’s someone in place who understands everything it takes. I can walk out of here today and know the work is going to get done. I have all the confidence in the world in (Bryan).”
Bryan said he has some goals for the next three to four months in his new role.
“We’ve got a lot of infrastructure stuff that needs to be done,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll also get some economic development projects going that’ll help our revenue line a little bit.”