Garner Cleveland Record

Garner finance director accepts job with the county


Emily Lucas, the town’s finance director, has put in her notice to the town of Garner that she will resign next month.

She has accepted a position with Wake County as their deputy finance director.

“For me this opportunity with Wake County and a larger organizaiton was really appealing to me,” Lucas said.

She said the position with Wake County presented new opportunities and bigger challenges.

“I really felt like it was a good career move for me.”

Lucas currently makes $102,750 a year salary with the town of Garner. She will make a $112,000 base salary in her new position.

Town manager Hardin Watkins said he wasn’t surprised Wake County inquired about her. He said he is disappointed that she is leaving but understands.

“When you have people on your team that are as talented and hardworking as Emily that means they will be identified by others,” Watkins said. “She’s incredibly talented. She’s really savvy on the finance side, but is able to talk with people and solve problems.”

Watkins said he is optimistic however that she working for the county can benefit Garner in some ways.

“We have a handful of things that are joint funding opporunities with Wake County,” he said. “We’ll have someone inside Wake County that understands our needs.”

Watkins said the town is developing a plan to fill her void in the interim. After that the town will go through the full recruitment process.

Lucas’ last day will be Dec. 18. She will have spent nearly two years working in Garner, after spending 11 years in her hometown Zebulon as its finance director.

Lucas was hired in Garner in January 2013. She was responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the finance department, preparing and implementing the bond sales, working with the budget manager for the recommended budget and preparing reports for the council, among other things.

Lucas said she has known since August that she was leaving.

Elected officials also praised her work, saying it is devastating for the town to lose Lucas.

“Her presence, expertise and her professional manner will be greatly missed,” Mayor Ronnie Williams said. “And I don’t know if we can replace her but we will try to hire someone to take her place. She was top notch and very good at what she does.”

Council member Jackie Johns agreed. He said he was shocked to hear the news.

“I hate to see her leave because she was an asset to the town and she was good,” Johns said. “She kept us up to date on progress reports, the money we had left and what money we spent. She’d give us a good report every week.”

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland