A fresh face has been chosen assume the role of Chapel Hill’s town manager this August as current town manager Roger Stancil approaches retirement.
The Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution to appoint Maurice Jones to the position of town manager. Jones will begin August 20 with a base annual salary of $210,000.
Jones most recently worked as city manager for Charlottesville, V.A., holding the position for almost eight years. He has been a member of the Charlottesville community for about 20 years and began working for the city in 1999 as its communications director. He said he likes the atmosphere of college towns and their high levels of community engagement, which is what brought him to Chapel Hill.
“Chapel Hill is an exciting place," Jones said. "There are a lot of great things that are happening here. I was looking for a place that would have unique challenges that are similar to what other college towns have to address, and that’s exactly what I found in Chapel Hill.”
This appointment comes nearly one year after the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, during which 20-year-old white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring 19 others. Jones was met with criticism from the Charlottesville mayor and city council following the rally. The council made the decision to not extend his contract as city manager, which was set to expire in December 2018.
Jones underwent a six month process in which he and 61 other candidates were vetted by the Chapel Hill Town Council, with the help of Developmental Associates, LLC. The first round of applicants went through a screening process that narrowed the 62 applicants down to 15.
A secondary screening and interview process narrowed the candidates from 15 to five, upon which they were given oral and written assessments.
Mayor Pam Hemminger said the town council selected citizens and other managers to help with the assessment and reviewed data from all the assessments to narrow the position down to three applicants.
"We interviewed the three finalists, were unanimous in our selection and are very excited," Mayor Pam Hemminger said.
Town Council member Hongbin Gu said that the search was formal and comprehensive, including a psychological profile of the candidates.
“There was a three-hour writing session where they had to write a critique of our town’s budget, which is just unbelievable," Gu said. “The products that they were able to produce really impressed us.”
Gu believes that the Council unanimously voted to appoint Jones because he embodies the values that the Council believes in. This includes angling his approach to the town’s various projects through social justice and equity. Gu stressed that his experience and extensive background in managing Charlottesville made him an appealing first choice to the council.
A formal meeting is scheduled for September to introduce Jones to the job.
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