Tuesday, September 02, 2014

County Manager Takes Job In Iredell

Published Thursday, October 24, 2013

By MIKE BARNHARDT

It was her dream job.

But becoming Davie County Manager at age 32 - with two young daughters at home - created a somewhat hostile environment for Beth Dirks.

Last week, she told county commissioners and county employees that she was leaving. She has taken a job as deputy county manager in Iredell County.

“It’s a bittersweet, selfish decision,” she said. “I made it for my girls and I made it for me.”

She starts her next job on Dec. 9. That way, she said, she can guide commissioners through the next two monthly meetings.

Even everyday shopping trips - with her girls, ages 8 and 9 - got to where they weren’t much fun. If someone had a beef with the county, they would tell her. The girls, she said, learned their first swear word when someone told her what they think on a Saturday morning trip for groceries.

“In a small county, you’re on the job 24/7.”

When at home, she worried about whether she was making the right decisions, and that took time away from her girls. “I need to be a mother first. That’s the most important job I do.”

Dirks isn’t bitter. Her parents live in Statesville, and she plans to continue to live in Davie County, where her girls attend school.

“I need to separate my career from my family. I want to

raise my children in Davie County. I want my children to continue to go to school in Davie County.”

Dirks started working at Mocksville Town Hall when she was 16. Her first full-time job was with the town.

She became town managerfor Bermuda Run before taking the job as Davie County manager.

She is looking forward to the job in Iredell, a large, diverse county with 163,000 residents and more than 1,000 full-time employees. Working with Iredell Manager Ron Smith has been pleasant, she said. “It’s not a step backward in my career,” she said. “It’s the best of both worlds.