Job of naming new town manager up to new Maggie Valley leaders

Maggie Valley’s interim town manager has only been on the job for a few weeks, but already has been offered the role on a more permanent basis — sort of.

Maggie town manager, festival director both lose jobs over concert deal

fr maggiewoesAfter a week of paid suspension, Maggie Valley’s town manager and festival director are gone.

Maggie town manager, festival director suspended over concert debacle

fr maggieThe Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to suspend Town Manager Tim Barth and Festival Director Audrey Hagar for a week with pay after questions arose about dubious decisions made by both leading up to a country music concert at the town’s festival grounds in August.

Canton reopens application process in town manager search

The Canton Board of Aldermen is still accepting applications for the open town manager position.

“We’ve interviewed some that we like. We’ve got some good applications, but we still wanted to continue looking,” said Canton Alderman Ed Underwood. “It is still open right now.”

Canton to bid farewell to long-time town anchor

fr matthewsCanton Town Manager Al Matthews has announced his impending retirement, and while his last day won’t be for months yet, he’s already plotting ways to spend his new-found free time after a long career in town government.

How Galloway’s guiding hand set the stage for Waynesville’s success

coverTo some, it might seem like luck. But Waynesville’s rise as one of the state’s preeminent small towns has been anything but.

The quality-of-life magnetism Waynesville has become known for during the past two decades is instead largely owed to an intelligent design set in motion by its methodical town manager, Lee Galloway.

Waynesville’s revered town manager receives top N.C. honor

Longtime Waynesville Town Manager Lee Galloway was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious honors conveyed by the governor, in recognition of his years of service in the state.

Waynesville welcomes new town manager

After nearly six months of searching nationwide, Waynesville found a new town manager close to home from the town of Black Mountain.

Marcia “Marcy” Onieal recently inked a contract with town leaders to become Waynesville’s new town manager, the first female to hold the job.

“I hope that I will be a good fit with the community,” said Onieal, who listed her past experience in local government and her familiarity with mountain culture as strengths that she brings to the position.

She beat out more than 60 other applicants in a lengthy and comprehensive search to replace Lee Galloway, an admired and respected town manager who has led the town for the past 17 years.

Onieal had been the town manager of Black Mountain — a town very similar to Waynesville — since 2008.

Black Mountain and Waynesville are both quaint towns with progressive feels, sporting vibrant and picturesque downtowns. Both have a healthy tourist trade, without being strictly “tourist-towns.” Black Mountain’s population is 7,800 year-round residents compared to Waynesville’s 9,900. Both are also home to a large community of retirees.

“I like the small town character,” Onieal said.

Onieal said she was attracted to Waynesville because it is a progressive and well-managed town.

“I am so pleased to be coming into an organization that has been so well managed,” she said. “Not every town has a vision, and this town does.”

The Waynesville’s location will also allow her to indulge in some of her favorite activities.

“I love to hike and ski,” Onieal said. And “I’ve always been into art in some way.”

Onieal and her husband James Lamm, an architect and engineer, live on a small farm in Madison County where they care for three rescue horses. When Onieal became town manager of Black Mountain, she was not required to live within the town limits so she decided to rent a condo there and keep her farm.

However, the couple now plans to sell the farm, find the horses a new home and settle down in Waynesville.

As of yet, she has not had much time to see Waynesville’s sights since most of her time in town has been spend house hunting. However, that will quickly change when she assumes her new roles.

Onieal resigned as the town manager of Black Mountain in December, following a change in the make-up of the town board there in last fall’s election.

Although the search process spanned nearly six months and required applicants to undergo intense review, the time between Onieal signing the contract last week and her start date is fleeting. Her first day is March 29.

Onieal will earn $102,000 initially. In October, she will receive a 5 percent raise — bringing her annual salary to $107,100. Thereafter, Onieal will obtain raises equal to those of other town employees. Current town manager Lee Galloway earns $114,091 a year.

The mayor and Board of Aldermen took time Wednesday after announcing her appointment to praise and congratulate Onieal.

“She will be an asset in the community,” said Mayor Gavin Brown.

The newest Waynesville alderwoman, Julia Freeman, agreed, saying she is confident that Onieal will do a great job.

“We look forward to your new ideas,” Freeman said.

Onieal will replace Lee Galloway, who has served as town manager for about 17 years.

“It’s a joy to walk in behind someone who has done such a great job,” Onieal said. “I am looking forward to every single day I walk through the door.”

During Wednesday’s announcement, town leaders thanked Galloway for his many years of service.

“We were very fortunate. Lee (Galloway) has been outstanding as everyone knows,” said Alderman LeRoy Roberson.

Although he is anxious to begin his retirement, Galloway will continue to work for the town until the end of June.

“I don’t feel like I will be left hanging,” Onieal said. “I am grateful that Lee will be around.”

During the next few months, he will help finish next year’s budget and start passing on some his vast institutional knowledge to Onieal.

“My first weeks on the job will be a whole lot of listening, learning and meeting people,” Onieal said. “I have a natural interest the history of the town itself.”

Once she settles into her new position as town manager, Onieal said one of her main focuses will be economic development. And, although the goal is to bring new businesses to town, Onieal said the integrity of the town’s appearance should not be sacrificed for the sake of progress.

And, although he will no longer work for the town, Galloway does not plan on becoming a stranger.

Galloway said he is excited to retire and plans to take six months off to relax and enjoy retirement. He also plans to be an active volunteer, possibly working on trail maintenance, or with Habitat for Humanity or the Red Cross.

“Personally, I’d like to learn more about photography and read more,” Galloway said.

Eventually, he plans to work part-time as an interim town manager for destinations that are in between managers. But, Galloway said he will continue to live in Waynesville.

“Why would I go somewhere else?” Galloway said. “It’s a great community so I’ll be around.”


Onieal’s resume

A Tennessee native, Marcy Onieal moved to Asheville at age 13 when her father, a vice president at American Enka Corporation, was transferred there. Onieal has lived in Western North Carolina ever since.

A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate, Onieal earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public administration. She was a Morehead and National Merit scholar. Upon graduation in 1992, Onieal became assistant town manager in Wilson, N.C. She left that position in 1999 to become a partner at Design Group Associates, a family-owned design and consulting firm.

She is also heavily involved in civic and volunteer organizations, including the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of WNC, the Black Mountain Emergency Homeless Shelter, Rotary International and Buncombe County Rape Crisis Center, among others.

Consultant talks traits for new town manager

The clock is ticking on what will be a rigorous and thorough process to replace long-time Waynesville Town Manager Lee Galloway.

A series of meetings was held in Waynesville Nov. 16-17 by the firm hired to steer the town through the process, Developmental Associates. The firm’s Stephen Straus met with aldermen, town staff, the business community and the public to gauge their perception of challenges facing Waynesville and important traits for a new manager.

“I can tell you there will be a lot of interest in this job. The town of Waynesville is in an enviable position,” Straus told about 20 community members attending one of the public sessions.

Straus said Galloway’s long tenure in Waynesville and his leadership role in state local government associations means a lot of potential managers are aware of the town and its reputation.

“We have contacted some people who are in this profession, and there are others who just know. There is lots of interest,” Straus said.

At one of the public sessions, there was universal praise for the job Galloway has done in Waynesville. Former Mayor Henry Foy touted the town manager’s demeanor in handling problems, wondering how Developmental Associates’ process will find a similar personality.

“You never see anyone come into Lee’s office who leaves mad,” Foy said. “How do you evaluate that kind of professionalism?”

Straus said perhaps the most important tool he has in finding someone who possesses similar traits to Galloway is Galloway himself.

“Quite often a community or a board does not want a departing manager’s input, but that’s not the case here. Lee has already helped me get names, and he will help look at credentials,” said Straus.

Some of the challenges facing Waynesville, according to those attending the meeting, are: aging infrastructure; continuity of land-use planning; maintaining the emphasis on walkable communities and smart growth; economic development; and realizing that Waynesville is a tourist town.

According to Straus, the town board is still working out what the salary range will be for the new manager. He hopes to post the employment ad in newspapers and professional journals after Thanksgiving and run it the entire month of December.

Following that, the plan is to start screening candidates by Jan. 9, and narrow the pool to about eight candidates. At the end of the process, Straus said the town board will likely ask up to four candidates it thinks are capable of doing the job to visit Waynesville. The board’s challenge, he said, will be to determine which of those is best suited for Waynesville.

Galloway started working as Waynesville’s town manager in March 1994 and will retire in June 2012.

Waynesville to cast a wide net in search for new town manager

The Waynesville town board has hired a search firm to help with its hunt for a new town manager.

The board hired Developmental Associates LLC to coordinate the search, which will cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Town Manager Lee Galloway will officially retire in April, but will stay on until summer so that he can train his successor and help steer the town through the critical spring budget process.

In mid-November, Stephen Straus, president of Developmental Associates, will visit Waynesville to meet with the board, residents and stakeholders. Straus will gather a list of traits and skills that applicants for the town manager position should possess.

The town manager oversees all of Waynesville’s departments, including the police, utilities and finance offices. Although his decisions are subject to approval by the Board of Alderman, he hires all town personnel, directs much of the day-to-day operations and is an opinion leader within the town. He must work with a variety of people, as the make-up of many local committees and boards change.

Because the town manager plays such a vital role, the board made the decision to hire a search firm and solicit public opinion.

“This is not like somebody sitting in a downtown office in Charlotte,” said Alderwoman Libba Feichter. “We are all neighbors here.”

The search firm will advertise the position nationally, though most applications will come from people who live in the state.

Galloway will be hard to replace, however.

“I think we need to realize that we will not find another Lee Galloway,” said Feichter, who has served on the town board for about 12 years.

The town will need to find someone with his or her own special talent, someone who will be a part of the community, she said.

Galloway has served as the town manager for 17 years. He could see advancing economic trouble and was able to lead the town and the board through tough financial times, Feichter said.

He also has the ability to find the perfect person who fits a job, she said, calling it one of his “most phenomenal” skills. Galloway has hired several notable local officials, including Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed and Electric Superintendent Philip Wyatt.

“You can look at who that person hired and figured out what type of person they are,” Feichter said. “He has been a phenomenal source of strength and understanding.”

Once the applicants have been narrowed down to fewer than 10, the remaining will undergo tests intended to reveal strengths and weaknesses. The three or four individuals with the highest scores will complete case studies, and the pool will again be narrowed. The board will then interview the finalists.

The board hopes to hire a new town manager by March, said Galloway.

All five seats on the town board are up for election in November. Feicther is not running for re-election, so there will be at least one new member on the board by the time it makes a decision.

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