Local Politics

Managing growth a top goal for new Wake leader

Posted March 17, 2014

— Incoming Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann wasn't looking to leave Florida, but he said Monday that he couldn't pass up the opportunity to seek the manager's position in Wake County when it came open last year.

Hartmann beat out 57 other applicants to succeed David Cooke, who retired in November. He officially starts in April but was in Raleigh on Monday to meet with the Board of Commissioners and finalize his contract, which will pay him $220,000 a year.

He has served as the manager of Seminole County in central Florida for three years and previously was city manager in Alexandria, Va., and county administrator in Spartanburg County, S.C. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in public administration from the University of Central Florida.

In Wake County, he said, managing growth will be a major initiative. The county's population is expected to top 1 million next year.

"There is a great movement toward more multi-family and condo and downtown living versus new subdivisions, even though those will continue to be popular," he said.

Mass transit also will become more important in the future. Hartmann has experience with transit from his work in Alexandria, but he said local support for commuter trains and buses is more important than ever.

"In the old days, when the federal government was funding it, it was a different formula. Today, a lot of the money has to come from the local community, so there needs to be that buy in as well," he said.

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.

Commissioners adopted some goals for the coming year during their Monday meeting under six broad headings: fiscal strength and stewardship, community health and vitality, education, public safety, community partnerships and economic development, and effective government operations.

“The most important objective underlying each of our goals is cultivating a thriving Wake County,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Phil Matthews said in a statement. “What allows us to continue growing is the depth of dedication to greatness – not only from the local government but also the network of partnerships throughout our community. Good relationships are fundamental to a prosperous future.”

The commissioners solidified their partnership with the Wake County Board of Education by signing off on an agreement that ends the tug-of-war over control of school construction.


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  • John Booker Mar 17, 2014
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    Or at least control the growth... schools are overcrowded in western Wake because builders can come in and pop down an entire community without one thought towards the schools. Where are the impact fees?

  • Tim Pearce Mar 17, 2014
    user avatar

    How about turning the growth off.. Our Rural state will be just like some big trashy city after while... Almost there now. Look at the crime rate as opposed to what it was 20 years ago.. Rats accumulate in big cities.