Second department director resigns in Landis

Published 12:10 am Thursday, November 3, 2022

LANDIS — A second director of a town department has submitted notice they will be leaving at the end of this year.

Town Manager Diane Seaford submitted her letter of resignation to the Board of Aldermen Tuesday night. Her tenure will end Dec. 31, 2022.

Seaford follows Director of Public Safety Dr. Zachary Lechette, who announced in October that he will be leaving as of Nov. 11. Lechette was hired as the first to oversee the combined departments of police and fire once the town made the decision to unify all under the single public safety umbrella.

Seaford was selected as the new town manager March 30, 2021, after serving two years as the town’s finance directer. She has also served as assistant town manager for the town under interim manager Leonard Barefoot, a China Grove local who was hired in January 2020 to help stabilize the town and assist in a proper vetting process in hiring a permanent manager after the town had issues with two previous town managers.

In her letter, Seaford expresses how she has enjoyed working for and with the town over the last several years, and what she feels was accomplished on her watch.

“I believe that together we have brought the town out of an embarrassing period to a time when people are once again excited to live and work in Landis,” she said. “As I mentioned in my manager’s meeting last month, I believe that God has blessed this town with amazing employees form top leadership positions to entry level starting opportunities. Most towns the size of Landis are not fortunate enough to have as skilled and educated leaders as we have in Human Resources, Finance, public Safety, Public Works Recreation and Utility Services. I do not believe any of these people are here be accident. They have shown me how much can be accomplished when people are given the support, empowerment, tools and resources needed to grow. With encouragement and support, this team has created departments and policies that did not exist before, received recognition not thought about in the past, and set a high standard of service delivery. Thanks to them we are not in good standing financially with the state, our audits show we operate financially in a sound manner, state certifications have been obtained, state ratings have improved, service delivery times are exceptional, and town events are attended by citizens from all around. It’s been an honor to work for and with this leaders.”

Katie Sells, a board of aldermen member, said residents should “take note this is the second important departure … in less than 30 days. It’s a sad day in Landis when we lose someone who has brought Landis out of debt and has brought so much organization to the town. Policy and procedure have been put into pace, things the town has never had. Diane, thank you for all you have done for the town of Landis.”

“As mayor of the Town of Landis, I would like to express my sincere appreciation on behalf of the board and town to Diane Seaford for her service to the town,” said Mayor Meredith Smith. “She has held many roles with the town of Landis over the past 4 years and we want to recognize her contributions not only as town manager, but as the finance director and assistant town manager. We would also wish her well in her next professional endeavor with the NC League of Municipalities and know that she will be successful in this capacity.”

Smith was asked if the town has had the opportunity to determine how it will move forward with its public safety department — will it remain one department or will the town consider returning to separate police and fire departments — and how it will proceed in replacing Seaford.

“The town will not be offering any further formal comment on town vacancies or recent staff turnover, other than to say that the board values the contributions of all of our loyal hard working employees, and we will be discussing our options for an interim town manager very soon in order to ensure a smooth transition,” said Smith.