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Fox named interim county manager

Darlene Fox. Donated photo Darlene Fox. Donated photo

Less than a month after Jackson County Manager Don Adams announced his resignation, commissioners have appointed an interim to fill the post. 

“We’re going to be having Darlene Fox, our finance director, serve as interim position for county manager starting on Jam. 1,” said Chairman Mark Letson.

Fox currently serves as director of finance for the county and will continue that role while acting as county manager during this interim. Fox has worked for the county for over 40 years but says she does not have plans to apply for the permanent manager position.

“I feel that my knowledge and experience in the financial operations of the county will help with a smooth transition to the new management,” Fox told the Smoky Mountain News. “My goals are to maintain normal operations and to move forward with the budget process for fiscal year 2024-2025.”

Fox began her work for the county as an accounting clerk before serving as the assistant finance director for two years, after which she was appointed to finance director in 1980. Fox has also served as the finance director for the Jackson County Airport Authority and the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority.

In North Carolina the county manager is the chief administrator of county government, responsible to the board of commissioners for administration of all departments of county government under the board’s control. They appoint, with the approval of the board of commissioners, and suspend or remove all county officers, employees and agents. Managers are also responsible for preparing and submitting the annual budget, which, as finance director, Fox has ample experience in.

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Fox will now also be responsible for making any reports that the board of commissioners require concerning county operations and executing any orders, ordinances, resolutions or regulations the board deems necessary. She will be compensated 10% more than her current salary for carrying out the duties of county manager.

After more than seven years as county manager, Don Adams announced in October that he would end his employment with Jackson County by the end of the year. In a press release the county said that the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and County Manager Don Adams amicably came to an agreement to end Adams’ employment effective Dec. 31. Adams had begun serving as manager in August 2016.

“It has been my honor to serve the citizens of Jackson County,” said Adams. “It has been my privilege to work with excellent employees and elected leadership within the county.” 

Adams cited personal reasons as the basis for his departure, including his health.

“Due to personal reasons, including health and other personal issues, I believe it is in the best interest of the county and for me to step away and retire,” said Adams. “This will allow for other leadership to take my place.”

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