County takes 'interim' off King's LCES title

County takes 'interim' off King's LCES title

There’s a new King of Lenoir County Emergency Services. Well, a Jerri King, that is.

In an information-packed meeting of the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners Monday morning, it was announced the “interim” title had been removed from Interim LCES Director Jerri King late last month. King replaces Roger Dail, the longtime LCES director who retired Dec. 31.

The move was one of the last official acts Joey Bryan performed as the Interim Lenoir County Manager; at Monday’s meeting, the permanent county manager, Michael James, was approved by the county commissioners.

“We needed somebody in place because we’re doing buyouts and all that sort of stuff,” Bryan said. “She’s been here 27 years and was the obvious choice. She’s been the one that’s made Roger look good all these years.”

The county commissioners said they approved of Bryan’s decision.

“She was the logical choice,” Commissioner J. Mac Daughety said. “We have such a great team and it reflects on the employees in the county and the members in that department that one of theirs was promoted internally. It’s going to be a seamless move.”

Commissioner Craig Hill said, “She has been the heir apparent for quite some time. She has done a great job and came with Roger’s high recommendation. We knew all along she had the ability to do the job.”

Dail said he is proud of his protégé.

“Everything we’ve gone through, she’s always been there for me and for Lenoir County,” Dail said. “She’s great, she’s always been great and she’s going to continue to be great.”

After conferring with her family and staff, King said she felt she was ready for the challenge.

“It’s the natural next step to go from the deputy director position to become the director,” King said. “I want to continue to give back to my community before I retire.”

After Dail announced his intent to retire at the end of 2018, King was named the interim director by Bryan. At the time, she was considering retiring at the end of this year when she becomes eligible, but she said that thought is on hold for the moment.

“I really haven’t made a firm decision,” she said. “I’m going to wait and see how things go.”

King is the daughter of an Air Force veteran, so she traveled all over the world with her family until she was 16, more than 40 years ago. Since then, she’s worked for Lenoir County for almost 28 years in a variety of roles, including as a dispatcher with the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, and several positions in the LCES, the last decade or so as Dail’s right-hand person.

“Jerri is fully qualified and has great experience,” Commission Chair Linda Rouse Sutton said. “Roger always had a lot of confidence in her and we do, too.”

Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram was also happy with Bryan’s decision. He’s worked hand-in-hand with King since he took over as sheriff in 2014.

“I think she’s going to do well,” Ingram said. “It’s also good for the organization – it shows that if you work hard, there’s a chance to move up.”

King said having such a great team around her – including leaders such as Samuel Kornegay (emergency management), Dustin Burkett (fire marshal), James Hood (EMS), Paige Johnson (communications) and others – has made the transition easy.

“If I didn’t have the support of this team, I don’t think I could do the job,” she said. “I have such strong individuals and experts around me, I’m just overseeing them as the director.”

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