Stamey to step down; Dove will step up

By Vicki | Oct 23, 2013
Marty Stamey

Haywood County Manager Marty Stamey is stepping aside effective Jan. 1, 2014, to retire and pursue other career options.

The announcement, made at Monday’s county commissioner meeting, was followed by a vote to name Ira Dove, the current director of the county social services department, as the interim director.

Stamey took the assistant county manager job in 2007, and was promoted first to interim manager, then manager following the departure of David Cotton in 2010.

During his first year as manager in 2011, Stamey prepared a budget that cut spending by $6 million and reduced county employee numbers by 50, lowering the county staffing numbers to below 2005 levels.

Board members praised Stamey’s leadership during an economically troubling time for the county, state and nation.

“Marty has been a strong, caring leader during some of the most difficult budget years we’ve ever had to face,” said County Board Chairman Mark Swanger.

Stamey equates his departure to simply switching who's in the driver's seat.

"We've got the right people in the right seats on the bus," Stamey said. "We're moving forward and are just changing drivers."

Commissioner Mike Sorrells tied Stamey’s effectiveness to the personal relationships he formed. Commissioner Kevin Ensley said Stamey’s background in the private sector helped him run the county in a more business-like manner. Ensley said in addition to difficult budget years, remarks from some citizens likely played a role in Stamey's decision.

Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick said there are 40 county and city manager posts vacant across the state, something he attributed to the lack of respect shown to individuals in those positions by some sectors across the state.

“I’m all for people making comments and presenting their opinions, but when it is done is a belligerent manner, over time it wears on you,” he said. “You could say, 'I can work somewhere else and make more money.'”

Commissioner Bill Upton agreed Stamey has been under a lot of pressure in the manager's post.

"Marty took over in our toughest time financially. He's done a good job with employees and making them buy-in," he said, observing the budget decisions meant few people had to do just as much, if not more work.

The commissioners said they knew of Marty's decision since September and tried their hardest to convince him to stay.

The time between now and the end of the year will allow for a smooth transition, Swanger said.

"Ira Dove will make an excellent interim county manager," Swanger said. "Ira has worked with Marty and the board to arrive at a seamless transition.

While Stamey's background prior to assuming the manager's post was in emergency medical services and health care, Dove comes to the board with a law degree and the job of overseeing 28 percent of the county's workforce and 24 percent of the county's budget.

Dove said DSS has a succession plan in place, and plans to rely on Teresa Allison, program administrator, and Donna Lupton, who has been with the agency for the past two decades, as he transitions into the county manager interim post.

At present, Stamey, who is a 1976 Pisgah High School graduate, has no idea what his future will hold, though he will be looking at opportunities in the health care and emergency services field. One thing is certain, he won't be leaving a single day before the end of the year.

"I don't take vacations," he said of the considerable leave time he's accumulated in his 29 years on the state retirement system. It's a fact Swanger confirmed, noting the board has mulled over issuing an order to make him to take a vacation.

While the board members gave Stamey credit for pulling the county through tough times, the county manager credited the those he worked with in the county for progress made.

“Haywood County has continued to accomplish many goals during difficult financial times and that is directly due to strong leadership and guidance from the board of commissioners and the dedication of our department directors and staff,” Stamey said.



Comments (1)
Posted by: Penny R Wallace | Oct 23, 2013 10:24

The county is losing a good manager. Having said that, I've been concerned about the effects of the job on his well being for over a year so I'm happy he's going to a different career soon.

The comments made by commissioners Ensley and Kirkpatrick have helped turn my suspicion based on experience into firm knowledge.

Government employees are generally reviled even when they are doing a great job of providing the things we ask for. They are super vulnerable because their immediate bosses are more politically motivated than pragmatic, and they get little respect from the citizens they serve. Working people to death is not a healthy strategy but unless we are willing to pay sufficient taxes to provide what we need, our county will continue to be more of a workhouse than an entity striving toward excellence.

A well run organization requires its staff to take vacations. Doing so is physically and psychologically good for the staff person, and provides good risk management as well as cross training opportunities that allows uninterrupted service to the customer (our citizens).  If we don't want to increase taxes to relieve the extra burdens on county staff, let us at the very least give them politeness during our interactions.

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