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Friday, April 11, 2014 - 11:53am

Chatham County Names First New Manager In A Quarter-Century

William "Lee" Smith will be the first new Chatham County manager in 26 years.

Chatham County commissioners voted unanimously Friday morning to approve Smith's nomination. Smith recently stepped down as manager of Wayne County, North Carolina.

Commissioner James Holmes raised some concerns before voting to confirm Smith. He said he’s met Smith and doesn’t “have any problem” with him, but would have preferred to know more about the other finalists.

"By me being a team player and wanting to truly accept the best person, then I need to have been given more information (about) whom I’m voting against," Holmes said.

Chairman Al Scott said he nominated Smith with the help of a national search firm, after a 20-year background check.

Commissioner Helen Stone praised Smith, saying he "seemed to understand some key issues" for the county including cost reduction, and economic development.

Smith recently stepped down as the manager of Wayne County, North Carolina. During his time Smith and his staff faced allegations of mishandling money. Smith has said the problems stemmed from a change in the county’s payroll system.

Smith will start by May 12. The salary range for the Chatham County manager is $175,000 to $200,000.

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