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Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 2:27pm

Chatham County Manager Nominee Says He's Learned From Problems At Previous Job

The nominee to be the next manager of Chatham County says he’s learned from past mistakes and is ready to lead the county’s staff.

Lee Smith recently stepped down as manager of Wayne County, N.C., after being placed on leave by his board. During his tenure, he and his staff also faced questions about their handling of money.

Smith acknowledges their were problems with a new payroll and timekeeping system in his former county. But he says he learned from the situation.

"You learn to have a staff that you can trust, that’s competent," Smith says. "But also having a process that you can take a look at every step of the way without micromanaging. If you can’t depend on your staff and trust your staff, you’ve got a major problem."

Chatham County officials introduced Smith during a press briefing in Savannah on Thursday.

Board Chairman Al Scott says Smith was chosen by a search committee after a rigorous background check and personality evaluation.

County Manager Russ Abolt is retiring after 26 years. A vote on Smith's nomination is scheduled for April 11.

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