Local Politics

Florida man named new Wake manager

Posted February 28, 2014

— The Wake County Board of Commissioners on Friday named Jim Hartmann as the new county manager.

Hartmann, who now serves as the manager of Seminole County in central Florida, will start work in Raleigh in April. He succeeds David Cooke, who retired in November.

"I think he’s up to the task. We quizzed him pretty hard," Board of Commissioners Chairman Phil Matthews said. "On interviews, he’d come up days ahead and ride around the county, which impressed me."

Hartmann previously served as city manager in Alexandria, Va., and as county administrator in Spartanburg County, S.C. He also has held local government leadership roles in Colorado and Orange County, Fla. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in public administration from the University of Central Florida.

"His years of experience – coming into a county such as a Wake, that’s important," Matthews said. "There are counties, and then there’s Wake County."

As county manager, Hartmann will oversee all county departments and agencies, advise the Board of Commissioners on financial matters and implement board policies and goals. He will earn $220,000 annually.

Hartmann said he plans to spend the next six months to a year trying to get to know the area and build relationships. He said he was encouraged by an agreement reached Thursday between the commissioners and the school board regarding the control of school construction, and he hopes to forge a partnership with school Superintendent Jim Merrill.

Karen Rindge, a vocal supporter of rapid transit, said she is encouraged by Hartmann's hiring. His experience includes oversight of everything from rapid bus transit to commuter rail.

"I hope the new county manager will help provide assurance to some of the doubters on the county commission of the amazing value public transit can bring to the Triangle," said Rindge, executive director of WakeUP Wake County, a nonpartisan group that backs smart growth in the county.

Commissioners agreed during a retreat Friday that they need to look at the process and possibilities of mass transit, but that's as far as the conversation went.

Hartmann was selected from 58 applicants for the Wake County job. Commissioners worked with a Florida-based search firm to narrow the field to 10 candidates, who were interviewed three weeks ago. Three finalists from that group were interviewed again on Monday.

Deputy County Manager Joe Durham has served as interim manager since Cooke retired.


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  • changedmyname Feb 28, 2014

    He is going to freeze.

  • billybob72 Feb 28, 2014

    Having lived in Wake County for 11 years before moving to Seminole County where I have lived over 5 years, I think he could do a lot of good up there. Here we don't vote on huge bonds every other year like we did in Wake. Here they know how to run a budget.

  • lewiskr45 Feb 28, 2014

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    Well he didn't say he was going to leave anytime soon, so maybe reserve judgement until we see what he does in the position.

  • xylem01 Feb 28, 2014

    Sad we can't put someone in charge that has the old fashioned values that we like here in the south. The implants know so much more about how we should be... - TORR10

    That is so right! It is wonderful that we are not going with someone with those old fashioned values that have been out of date since the 70's. Nice to see someone come in with a fresh, new, and modern approach, By the way, bred and born in Mississippi. Can't say I'm not a southerner. Time to get with the times Torr10!

  • Forthe Newssite Feb 28, 2014
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    THANK YOU!!! I was looking for a PC way to respond :)

  • ncflynhi2 Feb 28, 2014

    What happened with Joe Durham? Thought for sure he would get it.

  • Tim Orr Feb 28, 2014
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    Great...just what we need. Someone else not from the area coming in to tell us what to do. Seems this guy has been job hopping a bit. Can't do the job so he moves from place to place? Sad we can't put someone in charge that has the old fashioned values that we like here in the south. The implants know so much more about how we should be...

  • Obamacare rises again Feb 28, 2014

    Ok, great. Good for him.

  • lewiskr45 Feb 28, 2014

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    Yeah, all those 20 year old's with the experience to run one of the fastest growing counties in the country just didn't apply. All old people with years of experience are useless and a waste of money.

  • HeadsUp Feb 28, 2014

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    He's no spring chicken, that's for sure. Hope he brings in some capable assistants.