05/06/14 — Gurley to retire to take seat on commission

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Gurley to retire to take seat on commission

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on May 6, 2014 1:46 PM

Joe Gurley

County Republicans nominated Joe Gurley, the longtime director of the Wayne County Emergency Services Department, Monday night to fill the unexpired term of former county commissioner Steve Keen.

Keen represented District 4 on the board of commissioners until he was recently appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory's to serve as director of his Eastern Office.

The Republican Party executive committee voted unanimously to offer Gurley, a Republican, as a candidate for the post. State law demands county commissioners follow the party's wishes and appoint him.

Gurley said he plans to retire from his job at the end of the month. He would be appointed to the District 4 seat after that.

He will have to run in November to keep the seat since Keen's four-year term only began last year.

"It's not about me. It's about what I want to give back to the county," Gurley told the 50 or so people gathered at Republican headquarters. "I'm a humble person. I'm not looking for the limelight. I work well with others."

Gurley, 54, said that after working for the county for nearly 35 years, he hopes he is well thought of by county residents.

"I like being a team player," Gurley said. "I'm not controversial. I'm conservative. I'm methodical. I believe in needs, not wants."

He said he had been asked to seek the nomination. But he added that he had considered running for the District 4 seat in 2016, after eventually retiring. He said he understood Keen might not seek another term, but that the former commissioner's appointment by the governor had put his plans on the fast track.

"I'm here to help improve Wayne County," Gurley said, noting that commissioners have to continue to try to keep taxes low, especially for the county's senior citizens.

"They can't stand any more hits," he said.

Gurley cited his family's deep roots in Wayne County and the GOP and said he wants to help the party grow as well as the county.

"I'm ready to hit the ground running," he said.

Gurley and his wife, Dana, live in Rosewood. They have two daughters.