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East Spencer hires former Red Springs administrator as its new town administrator

Town Administrator

U. James Bennett

EAST SPENCER — A new town administrator, U. James Bennett, began work Monday.

Bennett, 65, who retired in 2018 from his job in the town of Red Springs after he worked there for six years. He also worked in Marshville as town manager. The Anson County native has also worked as an assistant county manager and interim manager in his home county.

The board voted to approve a contract to hire Bennett during an Oct. 21 called meeting.

Mayor Barbara Mallett said this week that Bennett coming onboard as town administrator, with all his background, will benefit the town and “move us forward in where need to be.”

Bennett briefly worked as a lobbyist for the N.C. Association of County Commissioners. He worked for 17 to 19 years as a corporate human resources director in Union County.

He has a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University. He has worked toward an MBA and MPA at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Bennett has completed county administration courses as well as finance and public law courses at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Bennett said his goals are to help find ways to boost economic growth in East Spencer. In addition, he wants to help grow the population.

Bennett said he wants to “help the staff become more trained and certified and for the town of East Spencer to become more engaged with Rowan County.”

He also wants the town to become more attractive to outsiders and provide stability in the town administrator position.

Bennett replaces former Granite Quarry Town Manager Phil Conrad, who was hired as interim town administrator. Conrad was hired in April and worked through August.

Conrad’s tenure came on the heels of the March resignation of a previous interim administrator, F.E. Isenhour. He had been in the interim position since December 2016 and, before that, he had been town planner since 2014.

David Jaynes was in the administrator’s job 15 months before he resigned. Before him, Macon Sammons Jr. stepped down in 2015 to become grants and special projects coordinator, a job he still holds.

Bennett has for five years served on the state boards for community colleges, state parks and recreation commission, and the professional review committee of the North Carolina Department of Education.

He’s served on Anson Community College’s foundation board, Union County Arts Council, Anson County Arts Council as well as the ARC of Union County. He is a trustee at his church, Friendship Baptist in Monroe.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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