05/08/14 — Gurley's last day on job is June 1

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Gurley's last day on job is June 1

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 8, 2014 1:46 PM

Joe Gurley will continue to serve as director of the Wayne County Office of Emergency Services until the end of the month, when he will step down to become the county's newest member of the Board of Commissioners.

Gurley was unanimously selected by the Wayne County Republican Party Executive Committee on Monday night as its choice to fill the District 4 commission seat left vacant by the resignation of Steve Keen.

On Tuesday morning, commissioners unanimously approved Commissioner John Bell's motion to accept the recommendation and appoint Gurley to the board, effective June 1.

"I am most humbled and appreciative of the appointment. I ask you for your support and guidance. I sincerely thank you for your vote of confidence," Gurley told the commissioners. "I look forward to working with each one of you and more importantly, I look forward for a successful Wayne County government and everyone who transits through here on a daily basis."

Interim County Manager George Wood said he had met with Gurley, who said that he still had a few things he would like to accomplish as OES director.

"What we would like to do is have him remain employed through May 31, which should give him time to finish up on those projects," Wood said. "What we are requesting is that you make the effective day of this appointment June 1.

"During that time you're going to have two meetings -- one in which you will vote and one in which you just receive information on the budget. The budget meeting will be May 27. The regular meeting will be May 20. During those two days, Joe would take vacation days so that he would be here on his time and not while he was working for the county."

Another reason to allow him to work through May 31 is that it takes some time to file the necessary paperwork for the state Local Employees Retirement System, Wood said.

It is not too early to begin the search for Gurley's replacement as emergency services director, Wood said.

"Typically we would advertise, and you try to hit the relevant market, which is a lot of the folks who do this for a living throughout North Carolina," he said. "So there is an association for those people. Obviously, we would certainly give consideration to any internal candidates for that. In the meantime, I will need to appoint someone over there as the interim director for that agency.

"I probably will get somebody in place, and the good thing is that Joe is not going anywhere so if they need some guidance or something, he is just a phone call away. We would probably have it so that they would be able to work with him for a week or so, but I think that will be fine."

Wood said he would meet with Human Resources Director Sue Guy to get something together.

The job will be advertised locally and through the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.

Wood also plans to talk with Gurley about any OES association since it might have a newsletter or website.

Keen resigned April 25 to work for Gov. Pat McCrory's administration.

Since the vacancy occurred within the first two years of a four-year term, Gurley will only serve until the Nov. 4 election. At that time, an election will be held to fill the office for the remainder of Keen's term.

Gurley, a Republican, has indicated he will seek election at that time.

Wayne County Board of Elections officials said that Democrats and Libertarians could each nominate a candidate to run for the seat.