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Pickens County Council hires new administrator

Published: July 20, 2016

Pickens County Council hires new administrator

Ron Barnett, [email protected] 10:50 a.m. EDT July 20, 2016

Pickens County Council has promoted Public Works Director Gerald Wilson to the position of County Administrator, according to a statement from the council.

Wilson, who has been working for the county since 1992, steps into the job after nearly a year and a half of the county being run by two different interim administrators.

His selection was unanimous following a closed session after the council’s regular meeting Monday night.

“Gerald Wilson has proved his loyalty, leadership abilities and dedication to Pickens County throughout his last 23 years of service,” the county’s statement says.

He will start in August with a two-year contract. Details of his contract and compensation have not been finalized, according to the county.

Wilson's tenure will begin almost exactly two years after the start of the administration of Matthew Delk, who parted ways under criticism from the council after just six months on the job.

Ralph Guarino, the county’s finance director, stepped in on an interim basis after that, until former administrator Tom Hendricks came back to work until the council could find a permanent replacement.

The council had hired a new administrator last December, but he backed out of the job before starting it. David McNeill, county operations manager for Transylvania County, North Carolina, cited “personal and family considerations” in deciding not to take the position.

So the council ended up looking within and tapped Wilson, who has worked in a variety of jobs since starting with the county 24 years ago.

He has been public works director since 2012, where he oversees roads and bridges, sold waste, vehicle and building maintenance, animal control, the county prison and the engineering department.

He started his career with the county as a motor equipment operator. Five years later, he was promoted to supervisor for the recycling department and in 2002 became the county’s recycling coordinator.

He became solid waste director in 2004, and took on additional responsibilities as roads and bridges director in 2008.

“I am proud to further serve Pickens County and look forward to working with the new County Council,” Wilson said.  “I want to thank County Council for having faith in me to do the job.  I’ll try my best to not disappoint them.”

Most of the council members who hired him won't be around but a few more months. Two of the six incumbents decided not to run for re-election this year, and two got beat in the Republican primaries.

“In the one and a half years that I have been on Pickens County Council, I have been impressed with Gerald’s professionalism,” said Councilman Ensley Feemster, one of two council members who will still be in office next year. “He understands technical issues that have to be dealt with, as well as dealing with staff and the public.”

Councilman Trey Whitehurst, the other incumbent whose seat was not up for election this year, said he’s confident that Wilson will do “a fantastic job.”

“Gerald Wilson has proved time and time again that he has the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to run Pickens County,” Whitehurst said.

Wes Hendricks and Roy Costner, two of the four new council members to be sworn in after the November elections barring a write-in upset, had no complaints about the lame duck council hiring an administrator before they take office.

“I think their intention was to try to provide a seamless transition when the new council takes over in January,” Hendricks said.

Costner said Wilson "seems to be a very competent guy."