Local leaders praise Salisbury City Manager Lane Bailey for decades of public service following retirement announcement

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 4, 2021

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — Following City Manager Lane Bailey’s announcement last week of his retirement later this year, local leaders across the county praised Bailey for his more than 30 years of public service.

Bailey’s retirement on Dec. 31 will end a six-year tenure with the city after beginning a career in local government in 1989, when he served as a city manager intern with the city of Galax, Virginia. He then held positions in local government across North Carolina, including budget analyst in Gaston County, assistant county manager and county manager in Polk County and city manager of King. Immediately before he accepted a position in Salisbury, Bailey was city manager in Lenoir.

He came to Salisbury in 2015 after John Sofley served as interim manager for a period and former manager Doug Paris stepped down in 2014.

Mayor Karen Alexander told the Post Friday Bailey has done a great job working with city council members and that “the city is in really good shape” because of him.

In a Facebook post following the announcement, council member Tamara Sheffield echoed the same, and congratulated Bailey for more than 30 years of service.

Council member David Post said Salisbury is losing an incredible manager “who is respected not just statewide, but also nationwide and worldwide.”

“Huge loss,” he said on Facebook. “Great leader, great guy!”

Bailey has been a member of International City and County Manager Association (ICMA) since 1989, along with the North Carolina City & County Management Association. He earned ICMA-Credentialed Manager Status, the highest professional designation bestowed by the association, in 2002, and received an ICMA Service Award in recognition of his 25 years of service to local government.

“Salisbury has been fortunate to have had Lane Bailey at the helm for these past several years,” said County Commissioner Chairman Greg Edds in a Facebook post. “He’s a great manager, but more importantly, he’s a good man.”

Council member Brian Miller told the Post he “thinks the world” of Bailey, and credits him with making thoughtful and deliberative decisions for Salisbury. Among his biggest accomplishments, Miller said, includes his help in making the Bell Tower Green Park project a reality as well as working through the city’s fibrant issues.

“He’s done a great job at helping council members understand the issues with better solutions,” Miller said. “His fingerprints are on a lot of things here.”

Dari Caldwell, former president of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and current Rowan County Board of Health chair, said Bailey’s retirement is “a huge loss for Salisbury.”

Mayor Barbara Mallett said “with what he’s leaving behind, it will not be detrimental to the city.”

She credited Bailey with his collaboration with both East Spencer and Spencer in providing Salisbury Transit services. Additionally, she referenced Salisbury’s help with East Spencer’s water and sewer woes in 2020, when Salisbury-Rowan Utilities and city staff said they would work with the town to determine a multi-month water billing credit for the town as it continues economic development endeavors.

“We wish him the best, and I hope he and his family enjoy retirement,” Mallett said.

Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Appalachian State University in 1987 and master’s degree in public administration from the same institution in 1989.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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