One of Amanda Edwards’ first decisions as a newly minted member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will be the selection of a new county manager.
“I’m looking for someone who is transparent and … is willing to ask questions,” she said after her swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 3, “but also someone who understands how to manage during times of crisis and manage through those times of crisis.”
On Dec. 19, the board met in closed session to winnow 33 applications it has received for the position to a more manageable number. The county is still accepting applications.
Board Chair Brownie Newman says that once the board narrows the pool to a short list of qualified people — likely one or two finalists — then commissioners could be ready to announce names to the public. “But that’s … realistically going to be after the holidays,” he says.
The board chose its last permanent county manager, Mandy Stone, to replace former County Manager Wanda Greene, who has been accused of stealing money from Buncombe County. Stone retired on July 1 — about one year after her appointment and one month before federal prosecutors charged her, Greene and former Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton with accepting lavish vacations from a contractor in exchange for favorable consideration on county contracts.
The board voted on June 19 to offer an interim appointment to George Wood, who served as the manager of Lincoln County from March 2008 to June 2013 and Wayne County from June 2014 to December 2017. His contract ends on Thursday, Feb. 28.