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Granite Quarry tabs Smith as interim town manager

GRANITE QUARRY — The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen named veteran administrator Larry Smith as interim town manager Monday night.

Smith is most familiar to Rowan Countians as Spencer’s town manager for 10 years, from 2005 to 2015. In all, he worked for Spencer 15 years.

In Granite Quarry, Smith will fill the spot held by Phil Conrad, town manager for the past three years.

Smith could begin reporting to Town Hall as early as today, provided he clears a standard drug test and background check. Conrad’s last official day is next Monday.

Aldermen met briefly in closed session Monday night to discuss Smith’s appointment. Mayor Bill Feather later said Smith’s contract calls for him to be paid $50 an hour with no benefits, except travel reimbursement on any town duties outside Granite Quarry.

The town board expects to start the search process for a permanent town manager in the near future.

Feather and aldermen have said previously it is important to have an interim manager on board to help with the board retreat Feb. 22 and to guide the board through its work this spring on a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Smith is a graduate of N.C. State University and a retired Marine.

Conrad, recognizing it was probably his last formal meeting with the aldermen, said he wanted to recognize “the folks in the back of the room,” which included staff members and department heads.

“They’re a special group,” Conrad said, also tipping his hat to former employees who all had worked hard and made his job easier over the past three years.

Feather said Conrad is “handing things off in great shape.”

“He’s really been a real benefit to the town,” Feather said.

A couple of other appointments were announced Monday night.

Jason Hord has shed the interim title to become the full-fledged fire chief for Granite Quarry. Hord also serves as the town’s maintenance director. He had been interim fire chief since the resignation last year of Dale Brown.

Hord said Monday he is trying to reinvigorate the junior firefighters program, which used to be strong in Granite Quarry.

Aubrey Smith was sworn in as the town’s new deputy clerk Monday night. She takes the place of Scott Stewart, who left for other employment late last year. Finance Officer Shelly Shockley had been performing those duties.

In filling some other vacancies, aldermen appointed Phyllis Fisher to the Parks and Recreation Committee and Arin Wilhelm and Ronald Jacobs to the Planning Board.

In a few other business Monday night, the aldermen:

• Approved the annexation of 8.9 acres off Faith Road that’s known as the “Byrd Property,” a recent gift to the town from the Byrd family.

• Heard from Conrad that road grading and some sanitary sewer work has begun for Village at Granite, a new residential subdivision off Faith Road.

• Approved four budget amendments, including $15,000 toward buying and installing new Christmas lights last year and $2,500 to cover additional expenses in contracted limb grinding.

• Approved the surplus sale of 30 old traffic vests that belonged to the Fire Department.

• Heard from Town Planner Steve Blount on his and the Planning Board’s progress to update the town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The present land use plan dates back to 2000, and it was supposed to be updated every five years but never was.

Much work and board and public input lie ahead, but Blount hopes to see a 2019 update finished by November.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.





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