After a long period of relative stability, the personnel changes keep coming for the Town of Garner.
Human resources director Mary Beth Manville and deputy town clerk Kimberly Moffett will both move on to new jobs shortly after the retirement of inspections director Sandy Teal and fire inspector Les Harmon.
In addition, former economic development director Tony Beasley has taken over Teal’s job and town manager Hardin Watkins is in the process of picking out a new assistant town manager, which could be an internal hire that further shakes up town leadership.
“That’s what we do, we try to keep moving,” Watkins said. “The good news is there’s 170 of us so when you have people leave you have people to step up.”
As Manville noted, only her and Moffett left for different organizations, and both would be considered upward moves: Manville will become deputy human resources director of Wake County and Moffett will take the town clerk job in Clayton. And as Watkins said the coincidental movements, particularly the retirements, reflect a larger trend.
“There’s a lot of baby boomers out there,” Watkins said. “Demographers track how many folks are retiring in X number of years; we’re going to be doing this for a while.”
Moffett’s first day in Clayton is Oct. 20; Manville will finish October in Garner. Watkins praised both of the outgoing employees, and said they were taking advantage of “incredible opportunities.”
A Human Resource
Manville may be leaving after about three years with the town, but in a sense she helped replace herself. She worked to implement the town’s first online job application system, one she said improved the quality and quantity of applicants.
She spoke highly of her experience in Garner.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity Garner provided me. The people here are great, and I enjoyed working with the people from the management level to the employees,” Manville said. “I just couldn’t risk passing up this opportunity.”
That opportunity consists from moving from the head of HR and direct supervisor of one at a town with a $25 million budget to the No. 2 role for a county with a $1 billion budget where she’ll manage a staff of 13.
Watkins noted that the benefits budget for Wake County’s 3,000 employees alone outstripped the entire town’s outlays.
“She is an incredibly hard worker, a genuine person and someone truly committed to public service. Human resources is a difficult place, trying to look out for the needs of individual employees but also for the good of the organization,” said Watkins, who credited her emotional intelligence and ability to build relationships and trust.
Manville, who lives inside the triangle between Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Garner, initially came to Garner after working for the town of Morrisville. The job was her first opportunity to be the head of a department.
Since, she’s also put together a new performance management software program, created a formal orientation program from scratch and managed cost for employee health benefits. She’s also updated a number of personnel policies.
Back to Clayton
With longtime town employee Judy Bass entrenched as town clerk and not eligible to retire for a couple years, Moffett’s new job may be the next best outcome. Or maybe even option 1A.
Before her nearly four years in Garner Moffett worked for roughly the same period for the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, so it’s a community she knows well. Her Willow Spring home is roughly equidistant from Garner and Clayton.
“Clayton, I love that community as I love Garner,” Moffett said. “At the end of the day the decision came down to what was best for me and my family, and the opportunity to move up in my position.”
While a shift, the boomer shift Watkins mentioned affected even this move. Cary’s town clerk retired, and Clayton’s moved to take that job. Watkins said from the start Moffett came across as heartfelt, sincere and committed to helping people. She took on a variety of tasks like planning events, managing schedules of town leaders and planning the All-America City trip to Denver.
“The job requires a willingness to jump in and do almost anything,” Watkins said. “Everyone says they’re willing to do that; she was absolutely willing to do that.”
The Long Island native moved to North Carolina with her husband, Bud, in 1994. Her husband, a musician from Manhattan, had been touring for years, but decided to stop doing so full-time and loved the area.
Scotty McCreery won the Clayton Idol contest in 2009 and her husband, a judge, went on to travel with the youngster from Garner as a mentor. He helped him develop vocal and guitar skills leading up to his American Idol victory. McCreery hugged Bud moments after winning the title in 2011.
“I feel lucky and blessed that I’ve been a part of Garner,” Moffett said. “I am going to stay friends with people here. I’m just down the road.”