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Fuquay-Varina hires assistant town manager

This town is seeing so much growth that Fuquay-Varina has created a new position to manage development.

Mark Matthews was named the new Fuquay-Varina assistant town manager, the town announced Wednesday.

His role, according to a news release from the town, will be to “provide oversight to departments that impact growth.”

Fuquay-Varina, with just more than 20,000 residents, is the fastest-growing city in North Carolina with a population of at least 5,000 people. It has doubled in size in the last decade.

Town Manager Adam Mitchell said in a news release that hiring an assistant town manager will allow Fuquay-Varina to “get out in front of this growth” and will help officials be more responsive to residents and developers.

Fuquay-Varina recently unveiled a $7 million plan to upgrade its parks system and build an arts center. Construction is also underway on Judd Parkway, which will serve as a sort of beltline around the town and which officials believe will attract even more development.

The town is largely a bedroom community, with many residents commuting to Raleigh, Research Triangle Park or Fort Bragg.

Fuquay-Varina also has a large industrial footprint. Detention center supplier Bob Barker Company has been one of the largest local employers for years, and British manufacturer A-Safe is looking at the town for its North American headquarters.

Matthews, who will start Oct. 20 with an annual salary of $90,000, didn’t outline any specific goals for his development-focused job.

He said he first wants to listen to what town officials and residents want the area to look like in the future. Then, Matthews said, he will work to facilitate discussions he acknowledges will often be controversial.

“Anytime you have a growing community, there’s going to be – there’s at least a chance for – competing priorities and visions,” Matthews said.

He also said in the town’s news release that he will focus on “addressing the challenges and opportunities that come with significant growth, while maintaining the strong sense of community identity that makes Fuquay-Varina such a special place.”

Matthews is currently a fiscal and policy analyst for Wake County, working in the Budget Management Services Department. He said he also worked with the county manager’s office as a liasion between “internal and external stakeholders,” learning skills he can take to this new job.

He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from N.C. State University and a master of public administration from the University of Kansas.

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