Florida man named new Wake manager
Posted February 28, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.