County Manager

Durham County
October 23, 2021
200 East Main Street, Durham, NC
Billing Address
Developmental Associates, 510 Meadowmont Village Circle #299, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
First Name
Last Name
Phone Number
Closing Date
November 21, 2021


Durham County, North Carolina, operating under a Board of Commissioners-Manager form of government, seeking a passionate, equity and social justice-oriented Manager to lead one of the most dynamic and economically diverse Counties in North Carolina.  With outstanding strategic leadership skills, the next County Manager will have a track record of being an entrepreneurial consensus builder with effective growth management skills, and the ability to build and inspire teams. The successful manager has a track record of partnering and collaborating with staff, a diverse community, regional partners, and the Board of Commissioners to carry out identified strategic priorities of the Board to meet the needs of the community. The County Manager is the Chief Administrator of the County government.

Durham County Government provides services ranging from animal control to zoning and strong support is provided to the local Board of Education and School Superintendent.   Award-winning programs in our Health Department, IT, Public Library, Social Services, and  Tax Departments, as well as GFOA, recognized reporting in the Finance department, demonstrate Durham County’s commitment to better serve our residents, prepare for the future and be a caring, inclusive, and transparent government. 

The County is regarded as a fiscally responsible, stable, and well-managed government with sound budget and strong fund balance (net assets). For more than 20 years, Durham County has been awarded a Triple-A bond rating, a designation attained by only 69 counties in the United States and only six of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Durham County has an overall budget of approximately $760 million with an operating budget of around $500 million.  The County has 27 departments employing about 2100 FTE employees.   Executive leadership is structured around the goal areas and the County Manager is supported by five general managers overseeing each area, and a chief of Staff.

The County has worked hard to increase transparency and to match the community vision of “Durham County is a thriving, vibrant and diverse community with abundant opportunity for all residents to live, work, learn, play and grow with goals and an actionable strategic plan with a robust implementation and evaluation process.  The new Manager will have the opportunity to update that strategic plan and its implementation.

The County’s goal areas guide staff in managing for results by developing and implementing the annual budget and work plans to include:

  • Community and Family
  • Health and Well Being
  • Secure Community
  • Environment
  • Visionary Government

To learn more about the Community and Organization – visit the County website and take a tour via a recent ICMA focus video.

About the Position:  The Durham County Board of County Commissioners is the legislative and policy-making body for Durham County and is the final authority on all County matters. The Board of County Commissioners hires the County Manager, County Attorney, County Clerk, appoints members of boards, committees, and commissions, approves the annual budget, authorizes contracts on the County’s behalf, enacts ordinances, and resolutions, and establishes general County policies.   The County Manager reports to the Board of Commissioners and acts on the Board’s behalf to manage the operations of the county, implement policies, develop, manage and present the budget, as well as to execute the Board’s vision, directives, and policy priorities using effective, innovative, and creative methods

Key priorities of the new Manager will include: 

  • using a leadership style that ensures effective Commissioner/Manager relationships through respect for diverse views along with committed and assertive consensus-building;
  • working with staff to capitalize on strengths and enhance employee engagement by fostering a culture of candid dialog – even when perspectives differ, inclusiveness, equity, consistency, and accountability for delivering excellent customer service both internally and externally;
  • engaging the community, building consensus, and facilitating partnerships with a wide variety of public and private sector stakeholders;
  • applying equity and racial justice principles to the delivery of services related to needs assessment, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation across all County communities;
  • exhibiting transparency, honesty, and integrity in all operations through listening to the needs of the community and the County employees while reenergizing the County’s core values among staff: Accountability • Commitment • Exceptional Customer Service • Integrity • Teamwork and Collaboration; and,
  • responding proactively and creatively to the impacts of COVID-19 on the County’s businesses, residents, and visitors.


The starting salary will be up to $255,000 depending on qualifications. Information about benefits can be found at: There is a residency requirement to relocate within County limits within 12 months of employment.


Qualifications:  The successful candidate will have a minimum of a master’s degree in public or business administration, or a comparable field with 10 years increasingly responsible professional experience in municipal management with at least five years at the level of assistant manager or manager in a comparably-sized community.  Must have a proven track record in leading with an equity and social justice philosophy, transparent public communication, effective intergovernmental relations, personal community engagement, leading cohesive and collaborative change, visionary leadership, and being adept at leading and implementing strategic planning to implement the strategic priorities of the Board to meet the needs of the community.   Work experience in a high-growth and diverse community is highly desirable. ICMA credentials or the ability to those credentials within a designated timeframe is preferred.   

The successful candidate has a track record of success and is:

  • an ethical leader who sets an example for all by being transparent and highly competent
  • a confident and trusting leader who allows department heads to exercise their expertise without undue oversight, but remains accountable for results;
  • a data-driven decision-maker who seeks information from multiple sources and uses data as well as stakeholder input to reach conclusions;
  • committed to the value of citizen accessibility and is visible and engaged with residents and visitors alike through community involvement;
  • is knowledgeable about and an experienced innovator for affordable housing solutions, green environmental approaches, technology innovation, community and social justice focused public safety and programs such as DARE, comprehensive land use planning, and strategic partnerships;
  • an advocate for continuing education for staff and self to ensure effective training, development and succession planning;
  • skilled at diplomatically and collaboratively engaging with a diversity of stakeholders such as individual citizens, community groups, Board of Commissioners members, employees, University and business leaders, regional, state and federal authorities in order to leverage County opportunities and mitigate challenges;
  • committed to open and transparent government by proactively seeking opportunities to communicate in multiple forums, encourage citizen input, publicize decisions and willingly respond to media when appropriate;
  • an assertive consensus builder in working with an engaged Board of Commissioners and staff to carry out County initiatives and priorities;
  • strategic and innovative regarding areas for growth of the local economy;
  • supportive of innovative redevelopment initiatives while also understanding the impact redevelopment has on at-risk communities; 
  • adept at constructively advising and providing guidance to Board of Commissioners;
  • a creative thinker in assessing ways to increase revenue and effectively manage expenses while delivering outstanding service;
  • able to effectively recruit, retain, manage, develop and engage talented staff to deliver excellent customer service to both internal and external customers;
  • experienced in developing and managing annual general and capital budgets;
  • resilient in the face of challenges and seeks innovative solutions to problems;
  • communicates excellently both verbally and in writing and possesses well-developed interpersonal skills and abilities;
  • values accountability and holds high expectations of self and others while also being an effective and respected leader; and
  • effectively networks with peers in neighboring communities including partners in City / Town governments, public schools as well as other municipalities throughout the state.

Special Requirements

Application and Selection Process

To apply, go to and click on the County Manager – Durham, NC link. To learn more about the selection process, visit Client Openings (or copy and paste into your browser:  All applications must be fully completed and submitted online via the Developmental Associates application portal – NOT the County portal, nor any other external website; it is not sufficient to send only a resume. Resumes and cover letters can be uploaded with the application.  Applicants should apply by November 22, 2021.  Application review begins November 29, 2021.  Finalists will participate in virtual interviews and skill assessments on January 6-7, 2022, which involves 3-4 hours over the two-day period, not including preparation.  Interviews with the Board of Commissioners will follow at a subsequent time.  All inquiries should be emailed to [email protected]. Durham County is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Recruitment and Selection is being managed by Developmental Associates, LLC