After a nationwide search, the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners has chosen a new town manager.
The board unanimously appointed Kip Padgett to the job on Tuesday. Padgett, 44, is currently the city manager in Gainesville, Ga., a town about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta with about 33,000 people – roughly the size of Wake Forest.
Padgett will start the Wake Forest job July 6 with an annual salary of $145,000.
“I am honored to be selected by Mayor (Vivian) Jones and the board of commissioners for the position of town manager,” Padgett said in a release. “I am looking forward to working with them and the employees of Wake Forest to continue the effort of providing exemplary service to our citizens.”
Padgett was picked from a pool of 92 candidates, who went through interviews and exercises.
The process began in January to replace former town manager Mark Williams, who retired April 30 after working for the town more than 20 years.
As manager, Padgett will answer to the Board of Commissioners and handle the town’s day-to-day operations, including the annual budget.
Williams already drafted a proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That budget would hold the property tax rate steady and keep spending mostly on par with the current year.
Padgett will begin his position after the budget is approved.
Padgett is a native of Georgia and attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He went on to earn a master’s degree in administration from Georgia College & State University.
Early on, Padgett worked in the planning departments of two Georgia counties and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
He became the planning director in Gainesville in 2002, overseeing the town’s development. He was named assistant city manager in 2007 and city manager in 2009.
During his tenure, Padgett helped shape the revitalization of an area known as Midtown Gainesville. Under his direction, the city created the Midtown Greenway and built up the area to encourage private development, he said.
In 2014, the city received Georgia’s PlanFirst designation, which awards municipalities that have a record of successfully implementing local comprehensive plans.
“We are very pleased to have someone with Kip’s experience,” Jones said in a release. “We believe he will fit very well into the cooperative and customer service culture that is such an important part of our Strategic Plan and will be a strong leader in implementing the Community Plan.”
Padgett will relocate to Wake Forest in the coming months with his wife, Tracy, and two children, Emma and Cole.
“Wake Forest is such a progressive community,” Padgett said. “It’s just an exciting time to be part of the area.”