Lenoir County Manager Michael James prepares for new position
Michael James has high hopes as the new Lenoir County Manager, coming into the position April 1. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
The first week of the Michael James era is in the books.
April 1 was James' first day as Lenoir County's new county manager. Unanimously named by the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners, James made a solid impression in front of the Board in his initial meeting.
“I think he did awesome,” Commissioners Chair Linda Rouse Sutton said. “It was a short agenda and he had the opportunity to meet the staff, getting to know who they are. We’re excited to have him here and believe he’ll do a great job.”
James, who was born in Jacksonville and went to Southwest Onslow High School, graduated from Appalachian State in 2009 with a degree in city and county management and a Masters two years later with a MPA. James started his career in Rural Retreat, Va., working as the town manager from 2011-15 when he moved to Union County, taking an assistant position for four years.
James said he’s ready for the challenge in Lenoir County and excited to work with the commissioners.
“I think everyone was ready to get a new manager on board, and it was a light agenda,” James said. “It was a good way to bring me in and I’m excited. Every member on the board cares about Lenoir County and they want the best for the area.”
James said he will do his best to balance the county budget, especially with the new fiscal year rapidly approaching in July.
“Economic development is a big priority," James said. "We want to make sure there's access to quality jobs here in the county. We have good high schools and education, and we have to partner with industrial companies to provide assistance to more young people in the county. A tight budget is always a challenge — we don't have the most resources, but we can definitely be creative. We have to be financially responsible to the county.”
James said he wants to be a constant in the area for years to come.
“I plan on being here for a long time,” James said. “There are a lot of fun things and projects here in Kinston and Lenoir County.”