Davis named permanent Tryon manager

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The lone dissension came from councilman George Baker who said he was not opposed to Davis being hired as manager, but felt the town was asking too much of one person by hiring Davis as the permanent manager and keeping him on as fire chief and code enforcer.

“Yes, congratulations,” Baker said to Davis. “My no vote was in no way a reflection on you. I just think we’re asking you to do too much.”

Arbogast said in his statement that during Davis’ 13 total months as interim manager Davis has authored and been awarded more than $200,000 in grants for the fire department, overseen the awarding of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the sewer trunk line, closed out the CDBG West Livingston grant, oversaw the restoration of Morris, authored two budgets at $4 million each, worked with the council through terminations of two managers, worked with Crys Armbrust on streetscape projects, the Small Town Main Street Depot Plaza grant and now the St. Luke’s Plaza grant.

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Towns of both similar and larger sizes have also had managers take on multiple roles. The manager for the town of Snow Hill, with a population of 1,603, also serves as the public works director, while the town of Franklin’s manager also serves as the fire chief and zoning administrator for a town of 3,800. Cherryville, population 5,785, also tried to have its manager simultaneously serve as fire chief, but that position was eventually split again, according to Arbogast.

Tryon in recent years has struggled to keep a manager in place. Prior to Hembree, Jim Fatland served for five years before resigning in December 2007.

Davis said he hopes his appointment to the position will alter that trend.

“My desire was always to stay here. This place as a whole has really taken me in,” Davis said.

Davis said he did not take on the permanent role last year, after the firing of Hembree, because he and the town couldn’t come to an agreement that worked for both sides. For Davis, the point he couldn’t budge on was his work with the fire department.

“That’s the thing about the fire service – when you arrive on the scene you realize you are immediately making a change in someone’s life,” Davis said. “I hated to walk away from that.”