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Commissioners tap assistant manager to take the helm permanently

Haywood County selected a new manager at their Wednesday meeting, promoting current interim manager Marty Stamey.

The board decided to make it official with Stamey, long-time assistant county manager, voting unanimously to give him the position permanently.

Stamey took over as interim after former County Manager David Cotton resigned in November. It was the second time Stamey had been tested in the position. He filled in last year when Cotton was out on medical leave in the midst of annual budgeting, where Stamey first proved his acumen for leadership.

Commissioners praised Stamey’s performance over the two terms as interim and lauded his skills, which they said rendered a search for someone more qualified unnecessary.

“We have all worked with Marty Stamey extensively during the past several months. We have all been very pleased with his performance and consider him to be very, very qualified for the position of county manager, so much so that we do not believe a search would produce a more qualified person for county manager,” said Commission Chairman Mark Swanger.

Other commissioners echoed Swanger’s sentiments, pointing to Stamey’s years of service and rapport with employees and the community as qualities to recommend him for the post.

Former chairman and current Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick said he felt “no need for the county to expend additional monies or time and efforts if we have someone here on our staff that is fully competent to handle the job.”

Commissioner Kevin Ensley also sang Stamey’s praises, adding his pleasure that a Haywood County native was taking the position for the first time.

Commissioner Bill Upton also made a cheeky nod to the new manager’s local roots, noting that he’d had nary a run-in when Stamey was a student during Upton’s tenure as Pisgah High School principal.

With two masters’ degrees and a wealth of experience in health care and emergency management services in the county, Stamey brings education, experience and a local eye to the position. He was named assistant county manager in 2007, following a stint as the head of emergency services for the county.

Stamey himself thanked the commissioners and praised his staff, saying they’re who he was really confident in and expressing hope that he could meet the high standards set by commissioners.

According to Stamey, the position is an honor and a vote of confidence in his leadership, but won’t amend his or the county’s day-to-day operations very much. Stamey’s salary will be just over $124,000, the same as his predecessor. It was upped to that figure when he stepped in as interim last autumn.

He said that one of the big challenges coming up will be tackling the budget as state and national funding dry up and more responsibilities are pushed onto counties.

He said he’s pleased with the promotion, but cautioned commissioners when he was named interim to take time before deciding whether to give him the post permanently in case his style was different than what they were looking for.

“I told them to wait, and let’s see how I do,” said Stamey. “Then they could decide whether they were going to do a search.”

But when asked whether this changes his work load or the way he views his position, Stamey said the title doesn’t really matter.

“It doesn’t change anything at all,” he said.

Stamey’s former position, assistant county manager, will remain unfilled and frozen indefinitely.

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