County government undergoes leadership changes

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Changes in Brunswick County government personnel in 2013 began with county manager Marty Lawing leaving to take the same position in Guilford County and ended with a vacancy at the helm of the emergency services department after Anthony Marzano announced his resignation.


March 22: County manager Marty Lawing accepted an offer to take the manager’s role with Guilford County, effective May 6.

“(Brunswick County) still has needs for parks and senior centers,” Lawing said. “And it needs to keep aggressively expanding water and wastewater systems. We’ve done that since I’ve been here, and it needs to continue to pay off debt and keep operating costs low.”

He added the consolidated health and social services departments into Health and Human Services will continue to refine and expand service delivery.

“Twelve years is a good time here,” he said. “(But) it’s good for a manager to move on to a new challenge, and it’s good for the county organization to have someone come in with a different outlook or style.”


May 20: Brunswick County commissioners named Ann Hardy the county’s new manager, two weeks after appointing her as interim county manager.

Hardy, who previously served as the county finance director, had served a month-and-a-half as special assistant to Lawing before he left to be Guilford County’s manager.

The board members unanimously voted 5-0 for Hardy’s permanent promotion to county manager and rescinded a decision to contract with Springsted Inc. to run a candidate search, screening and interview process through the summer. Commissioners had agreed to spend up to $24,000 for Springsted’s manager search.

Julie Miller, who was tapped to serve as the county’s interim finance director May 20 when Hardy was promoted to county manager, was named to the post permanently effective June 24. Miller has worked for Brunswick County for the past 11 years and worked under Hardy since 2005.


Aug. 30:  Leslie Bell, Brunswick County’s planning director for 15 years, spent his last day on the job after resigning to accept the same post in Guilford County.

Bell began work with Brunswick County government in July 1998 before he accepted a position as the planning director in 1999.

The longtime director was instrumental in developing Brunswick County’s primary planning guide, Unified Development Ordinance, or UDO, during the county’s expansion. The plan started as a result of Bell’s vision called Brunswick Tomorrow.

Bell, a native of the Cedar Grove community who returned home 15 years ago after working in Minneapolis, said dramatic improvements made in Brunswick County during his time as planning director would not have been possible without help from everyone involved, including the public. 


Nov. 4: Carolina Shores Town Administrator Mike Hargett announced his resignation to become Brunswick County’s new planning and community development director, effectiveNov. 18.

Hargett served as town administrator in Carolina Shores since February 2011. Before then, he operated a real estate company and worked for Wilmington as assistant city manager, budget officer and director of development services. He also worked for Management & Planning Services LLC, a private company that did planning work on a contractual basis for the towns of Whiteville, Sunset Beach, Leland, East Arcadia and Sandyfield, and for Lenoir County.


Nov. 21: Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Anthony Marzano tendered his resignation. His last day with the county was Dec. 6.

Marzano came on board with the county as the new director in May 2010.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram began overseeing the county’s 911 call center, which had been under Marzano’s supervision, following a unanimous 5-0 vote by the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners on July 1.

Assistant county manager Steve Stone is serving as acting EMS director.