Zebulon is fortunate to have a man like Sidney Perry in its midst, with the breadth of experience he brings, town government operations should run smoothly as town leaders look for a permanent manager.
Perry will clearly offer a calming effect to a staff that is in a state of flux following the departure of town manager Rick Hardin who resigned in the wake of his second DWI arrest. As the town’s former fire chief, Perry has faced many high-pressure situations and developed a knack for dealing with them in a calm, thoughtful manner.
Away from the high-stress demands of that job as a fire chief, Perry is an affable, likable guy with an easy smile and an infectious laugh. That’s sure to help the staff he now finds himself leading become at ease with the expectations of their new leader.
Professionally, Perry has worked in more than just the fire department, with stints in the town’s public works department and as a public safety chief heading up the police department as well as the fire department. Those experiences will surely give Perry the bona fides he needs to make sound decisions during his tenure.
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Perry’s no Willie B. Hopkins to be sure, but he’s about as close as anyone could get without turning the clock back 40 or 50 years when Hopkins seemed to be responsible for nearly every aspect of Zebulon’s government.
Perry’s tenure is temporary. He understands that it’s not his job to turn the ship 180 degrees and make changes in every nook and cranny of town government. And, in fact, the government Hardin left behind included a really strong, capable staff even with Perry in retirement.
Few towns could say they have such a capable substitute so readily at hand. Zebulon is fortunate it didn’t have to look any further than it did for a capable placeholder. And we’re grateful Perry was willing to take on the task. It’s a win-win for Zebulon residents and the town staff.
Finding a permanent manager is not a quick process. It will take the town several months – perhaps as many as six months – to gather citizen input, recruit, hire and bring on a new manager. The role is an important one and town commissioners would do well not to rush the process.
They have the luxury of taking their time because they have a man with the abilities that Perry brings to the table.