Raleigh, N.C. — The City Council voted unanimously Friday to name an assistant city manager from Charlotte as Raleigh's new chief executive.
Ruffin Hall will start work in Raleigh on Nov. 18 at an annual salary of $215,000.
"We interviewed a number of people, but he clearly rose to the top," Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. "He really is Raleigh – he’s young, he’s enthusiastic, he seems to have unlimited potential."
Hall succeeds Russell Allen as Raleigh city manager. The City Council terminated Allen's contract in April after a decade on the job, and McFarlane said at the time that the city needed a new vision to handle its continued growth.
Hall, who has served as Charlotte's assistant manager for two years, said he is looking forward to returning to the Triangle. He received a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later worked for both Chapel Hill and Durham governments.
"I understand the Triangle, and I understand the legislative process and the history of North Carolina," he said. "Really, it's just a matter of developing partnerships and collaboration and meeting folks. You can't do all that in Day One, but I will certainly do my best."
Raleigh's government is already well run, he said, but he hopes to work more on the city's transportation network, economic development and growth.
Hall was among 80 people nationwide who applied for the Raleigh job. The City Council narrowed the field last month to four finalists.
McFarlane defended the council's decision to conduct the search process behind closed doors. Three of the four finalists said they wouldn't have applied for the job if their interest in it had been made public, she said.
"We’ve seen the interview process for the police chief and for the school superintendent, and in both of those, people who had an open process lost their job when they went back," she said.
A native of Fayetteville, Hall has worked in Charlotte for 12 years, starting as a budget analyst and becoming budget director a year later. He crafted the city's annual operating budget and five-year capital investment plan, provided policy and management analysis and implemented the city's strategic planning process.
“Ruffin’s extensive knowledge and commitment to professional and ethical local government will make him an outstanding city manager,” Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee said in a statement.
Raleigh Chief Financial Officer Perry James has been serving as the city's interim city manager in recent months.