With promotion, Heidrick moves in line for county manager job
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Commissioners promoted County Finance Director Leslie Heidrick to assistant county manager after a vote at Monday night’s meeting.
The move makes Heidrick the frontrunner for the county manager job next fall when current County Manager Gary Page retires. Page is expected to retire in November.
“I really appreciate the support of the county commissioners and county manager,” Heidrick said. “I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Heidrick has been rumored to be in the mix for the job for the last several years, but the latest proposal, she said, seemed right.
“The idea was proposed about three years ago. It was slightly different job responsibilities,” she said. “And also the commissioners then and now have tied it to a potential succession plan. So in the past, I wasn’t as interested but I feel like now is a good time to accept the initiative.”
Heidrick will get about a roughly 11 percent raise, from a little more than $107,000 to $119,500. Heidrick will continue to serve as the finance director, but some duties will be shifted to Assistant Finance Director Suzanne Burgess, Heidrick said. The department is also planning to hire another accountant.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Page said he told the board of his intentions to retire in November 2014 during a meeting a few weeks ago. Page said he had expected to spend only a few years at the position. Next fall would put him around six and a half years.
“I spoke with the board a couple weeks ago in closed session about how I had intended to stay five to seven years and what I’d like to do is work through next budget and then through November,” Page said. “That would have me retiring about the time the current board members go off the board.”
County leaders thought Heidrick was the best fit, Page said.
“The board said they felt Leslie Heidrick has been our finance officer for 17 years, she knows everything about our finances. She’s a Rowan County product of East Rowan and Duke University,” Page said. “She’s done a great job in her position here and that they’d like to make her the Rowan County assistant manager — with the intent that in my retirement she would move up.”
Heidrick’s promotion was not discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. It was included in a larger consent agenda item and passed with a 4-1 vote, with Barber being the dissenting voice.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.