Council hires new city manager

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FRANKLIIN—The Franklin City Council voted 6-1 Monday to hire Randy Martin, city manager of Morehead City, N.C., as its new city manager.

Councilman Greg McLemore dissented, saying he wanted to wait until after the municipal elections in May to name a new city manager.

“I thought he was overpaid for his experience,” McLemore said after the vote. “He has no experience in a diverse locality.”

Martin will start on Tuesday, Feb. 21, and be paid $110,000 in the first year of his three-year contract. The salary will increase to $115,500 in the second year and $121,275 starting on July 1, 2014.

Outgoing City Manager June Fleming was paid $60,000 a year.

Martin said he had been considering a change for some time and has been eligible for retirement in Morehead City for three years.

“I looked at a lot of different options, but I kept coming back to whatever I did I wanted to do something in public service,” he said.

Martin, who on Tuesday planned to announce his retirement from Morehead City, added his options were limited because of retirement. The Tidewater region of Virginia has always appealed to the 56-year-old and it would bring him two hours closer to family.

A native of Patrick County, Martin said he also will be closer to his mother, who resides in Stokes County, N.C., where he grew up.

“I grew up being able to throw a rock across the border,” Martin said. “I’m very familiar with the state.”

Martin has three sons, who live in Raleigh and Greensboro, N.C.

He said he was impressed with the hometown feel of Franklin and the friendliness of residents during his visits. He said his wife of 30 years, Shelia, a registered nurse, was impressed with Southampton Memorial Hospital and the health-care facilities.

“It’s almost like going home,” Martin said. “Although I didn’t have ties to Franklin, it reminds me of the area I grew up in North Carolina and Virginia.”

Martin started in municipal government after graduating from North Carolina State University in 1977. He worked in several different departments in Stokes County, N.C., and was elected to the school board there at age 22.

After his two-year tenure with Stokes County, he worked for the state of North Carolina assisting communities in a 14-county region with pursuing grants. Five years later, he became manager of King, N.C., and stayed there for 11 years before taking the job in Morehead City in 1995.

Martin said one of his early goals in Franklin will be to help preserve and enhance the quality of life as well as help the elected officials set goals.

“I think it’s essential that we plan,” Martin said. “If you put down your goals you’ll amazingly follow them.”

Fleming’s last day will be Monday, Feb. 20, but she has offered to help Martin with the transition.