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Town of China Grove names new finance director

China Grove — At its regular meeting on Tuesday night, the China Grove Town Council introduced the town’s new finance director and designated a stormwater appeals hearing officer. 

Dean Luddie, a registered Certified Public Accountant who has been in government finance for over 20 years, will take over as China Grove’s finance director upon the retirement of longtime director Mary Jo Bopp, who will retire at the end of September after serving in the position for the last 17 years.

Luddie comes to China Grove from Black Mountain, North Carolina, where he served as the town’s finance director. 

“I’m excited to be in China Grove, learn a little bit more about the community and hopefully make a good contribution to the town,” Luddie said.

Dean Luddie

Along with overseeing all of the town’s daily and weekly financial transactions, Luddie will manage China Grove’s nearly $4 million budget, preparing it in advance of its approval by the town council. Luddie was chosen for the position over several other strong candidates, said Town Manager Ken Deal. It was Luddie’s long history of working with government finance that helped him stand out as a potential replacement for Bopp.

“He meets all the criteria we were looking for,” Deal said. “He brings a lot of experience working with government, so we feel good about him being on board.”

Although Luddie knows the ins and outs of government finance, he’ll spend the next couple months learning the nuances of China Grove’s system under Bopp’s guidance.

After introducing Luddie, the China Grove Town Council appointed Deal as the town’s first ever stormwater appeals hearing officer. Deal will serve in this position in conjunction with his role as town manager. The town council decided that it was necessary to have a stormwater appeals hearing officer in case a citizen has a complaint relating to a stormwater decision in the future.

“We may have someone who will appeal, we may not,” Deal said. “But we need an avenue through which people can appeal decisions, in case they want to do that.”

As appeals hearing officer, Deal would make the final decision in any dispute between a citizen and the China Grove Planning and Development Department. Deal said that the town council may consider appointing an engineer to the appeals hearing officer in the future.

In other meeting business, the town council approved a cost-of-living raise for Deal. Deal has worked as town manager for almost 11 years after retiring from his position as director of administration for Rowan County.

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