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Columbus hires Shepherd as interim town manager

The Town of Columbus has hired interim town manager Bob Shepherd to fill in for a few months until they find a permanent replacement for former town manager Tim Holloman.
Holloman was fired in December following the election of a new council majority last November. Holloman had been the town manager for the past three years.
Shepherd began last Tuesday and attended councils retreat held at Stearns on Saturday.
Shepherd is not new to the interim manager role. He served as Columbus interim manager a few years ago and as interim manager for Tryon in more recent years.
Council members named many goals for this year during discussions Saturday but hiring a new manager topped their list.
Council member Michael Gage said he wants the new manager to be someone with experience managing people, who understands budgets and has Western North Carolina values.
Council members said they would like the towns new manager to have prior town manager experience, have solid communication skills, be able to deal with residents and staff. They also want the new manager to have experience in water/sewer infrastructure, be fiscally conservative, have experience with small business recruitment and growth, have a knowledge of grant sources and opportunities, have a financial background and be sensitive to Columbus community and Western North Carolina culture.
The town says it most likely will not hire someone directly out of school. Some council members say with Columbus current issues it would be a disservice to an inexperienced person as well as the town. Council members say they will keep an open mind about the amount of experience someone has, depending on the candidate, and say they are open to hiring someone older who might be looking to retire to the area as well as someone younger whod be interested in raising a family in Columbus.
Council agreed that Shepherd will quickly advertise for a manager and go through applications to rate and recommend candidates. Council will also see all applications and will narrow down the search and then hold interviews as a whole council.
Shepherd lives in Asheville and is commuting on a part-time basis to handle his interim manager work for the town.