Midtown Raleigh News

News Briefs

Wake County taking manager applications

The Wake County Board of Commissioners officially began taking applications last week to fill the job of retiring County Manager David Cooke.

A consulting firm hired to help with the nationwide search for Cooke’s replacement put an ad online, looking for a candidate who has “exceptional administrative, communication, interpersonal and relationship-building skills, as well as the proven ability to provide strong leadership and direction.” The ad says the county wants someone with a command of budget and finance who is politically astute and team-oriented. Salary is based on qualifications.

Joe Bryan, the commissioners chairman, often refers to Cooke as the “the best county manager in America.” He said that he would miss Cooke but looks forward to “a time of new beginnings.”

Cooke, who has held the job since 2000, will retire at the end of November. His last official board meeting was Monday.

The board will accept applications for the job through Dec. 20. The consulting firm will interview candidates in early January and suggest finalists later that month. The board will interview those candidates in February and hopes to have a new manager in place by March, in time to prepare next year’s budget. From staff reports

City gives woman $312 over garden

The Raleigh City Council recently voted to give $312 to a resident who says her garden was “destroyed” by a city street paving project.

Marylee Crofts, who lives on Latimer Road near North Hills, brought the council a dead dianthus plant this month. Crofts said the paving work left bits of asphalt and concrete in her garden; the “fragile” plants died a short time later.

“I would like the City Council to instruct Barnhill (the city’s paving contractor) to recompense me for this loss,” Crofts said, noting that a garden center quoted the replacement cost at $312.

Interim City Manager Perry James said city staff determined that much of the garden lies in the city street right of way – not on Crofts’ property.

Still, the council voted unanimously to allocate the $312 from the council’s contingency fund; the city will ask Barnhill to cover the damages. From staff reports

Raleigh wants input on bike racks

Raleigh transportation officials want help in figuring out where to put new bike racks.

On Monday, the city launched a crowdsourcing effort through the SeeClickFix troubleshooting website. That’s the site where residents can complain about potholes or other city problems and get answers.

Now the site will help bicyclists in the most democratic way possible – allowing voters to determine where the racks will go.

So far, popular requests include the Moore Square Parking Deck on South Wilmington Street and the North Person Street business district. The process is also drawing a few participants who don’t think the city should provide bike racks at all.

The city isn’t asking for donations for these bike racks; they’re already funded and will go up next year. But in the future, Raleigh is working on crowdfunding for folks who want fancier bike racks than the city’s standard issue. Donations could pay for the upgrade.

To cast your vote, go to seeclickfix.com/raleigh, click on “report an issue” and “pick bike rack location.” Staff writer Colin Campbell

New city manager starts work

Monday was Ruffin Hall’s first day on the job as the new Raleigh city manager.

The former Charlotte assistant city manager attended his first city council meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, though interim city manager Perry James still did most of the talking.

But on Monday morning, he was just another new employee in city government, attending the standard 8:30 a.m. human resources orientation at the city’s solid waste services building in East Raleigh.

On Wednesday, Hall met the city’s rank-and-file employees during a staff meeting at the Raleigh Convention Center. And he met Raleigh’s business leaders Wednesday night at a reception hosted by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

To get a handle on Raleigh’s operations, Hall’s first weeks will be spent in lengthy meetings with individual city department heads and council members.

Hall, 44, was named to the post last month after the April firing of longtime city manager Russell Allen. He will earn a $215,000 salary, plus a $6,600 annual car allowance and $21,500 in “deferred compensation” on top of the standard local government pension. Staff writer Colin Campbell

Oakwood joins Wreath Across America Day

Members of the Raleigh community will gather Dec. 14 at Historic Oakwood Cemetery to honor veterans during the holiday season as part of the annual Wreaths Across America Day. The event, scheduled for noon, is free and open to the public.

Seven specially designated wreaths for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and POWs/MIAs will be placed on memorials during a ceremony that will be coordinated simultaneously at more than 750 participating locations all across the country.

Wreaths can be purchased online at http://give.wreathsacrossamerica.org/site/TR/NationalWreathsAcrossAmericaDay/General?fr_id=1208&pg=team&team_id=1658#.Uooojyeetp7. The cemetery’s goal is to have 200 wreaths sponsored.

The Wreaths Across America program began more than 20 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine, initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of members of the armed forces at Arlington National Cemetery. The Worcester Wreath Co. continues to be a major supporter of the project, donating more than 30,000 wreaths in 2011. More than 400,000 wreaths are expected to be sponsored by individuals, businesses and community groups in all 50 states and at 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil. From staff reports