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Wilson’s salary set at $95,000

GATESVILLE – Newly hired Gates County Manager Timothy L. Wilson will receive a base salary of $95,000 plus benefits, according to the terms of his contact that was released last week.

Wilson is expected to begin his new job on May 3.

The contract was approved in a 4-0 vote by the Gates County Board of Commissioners during a special called meeting on March 25. Commissioner Jonathan Jones did not attend that meeting.

The annual base salary is roughly $17,000 more than what former County Manager Natalie Rountree received. Following several employment evaluations since joining the county on July 1, 2014, Rountree was being paid $78,038 annually. The county also paid for her medical insurance.

On a 4-1 vote, Rountree was fired by the county commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 21, 2020.

When asked about the vast difference in the annual base salaries of Rountree and Wilson, Dr. Althea Riddick, chair of the Gates County Commissioners, noted that in 2017 the county hired the MAPS Group to review, revise, and recommend changes to its salary and personnel policy. A component of the report, she said, was an analysis of 12 counties similar to Gates.

“The final report recommended a salary of between $78,000-$114,000 for a county manager in Gates County, and was a guiding principle in the negotiations [with Wilson],” Riddick stated. “However, the entire contract was negotiated, not just the salary.”

Riddick added that Wilson’s “extensive and progressive 30 year administrative career in local county and municipal government was duly considered.”

“Gates County’s days as a training ground should be in the past,” she stressed. “The county is in need of an operational and administrative staff that can move forward at a pace that will take advantage of a fast moving market filled with untapped opportunities.”

Riddick said the commissioners are “confident that Mr. Wilson is professionally equipped, and will take full measure of the challenges that affect a small-rural county such as Gates.”

“Additionally, with the support of the board, staff, and citizens, he will be able to identify current and future initiatives and resources necessary to fulfill the expectations that will be presented to him,” Riddick added.

Wilson’s contract calls for a $5,000 increase in annual compensation on the first year anniversary of his employment with the county. The county also agrees to pay the premiums for Wilson’s health insurance.

The contract also includes a county-owned vehicle for Wilson to use in his duties as the manager.

According to the contract, Wilson agrees to establish residence within the boundaries of Gates County within six months of beginning of employment, and thereafter to maintain residence within the county throughout his employment. Due to the prevailing limited housing market at this time, the relocation time period may be extended for an additional six months for good cause shown by Wilson and agreed to by county officials.

The county will pay Wilson $5,000 to cover relocation costs.

Wilson is a native of Newport News, VA. His most recent job was the Director of Planning and Community Development for the town of Front Royal, VA. There he supervised departments which provide services in community planning, zoning administrations, property management and code enforcement, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program administration.

He has 30 years of public service experience in the field of local government, working with developing rural counties and towns in both Virginia and North Carolina. Twenty-five of those years were in senior management level positions such as department director, town manager, and county administrator.

He is no stranger to North Carolina governance having served eight years as Director of Planning and Development for the Town of Nags Head.

Until his arrival next month, Diane Hendrix will continue to serve as the interim county manager. Hendrix was the director of the county’s Customer Service department. She previously served as clerk to the board and was the administrative assistant to several former county managers.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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