DURHAM, N.C. — Monday marked the first day for Durham's new county manager who also happens to be Durham's old county manager. More than two months after being fired, county commissioners decided to rehire Mike Ruffin.
"Obviously, it's a surreal kind of day," Ruffin said. "It is great to be back. Clearly, we have a lot on our plate here and I'm glad to be part of it again."
In September, Ruffin was reading goodbye notes. On Monday, his email was flooded with "Welcome backs" notes. While it was business as usual for county offices, many employees were keenly aware of the fact that Ruffin was back.
"I don't get into politics of the county, but I am a county employee and as far as benefits and what's he's done, I think it's great," employee Brenda Riley said.
"It was a shock, an absolute shock, when it happened. I think we're back to where we need to be," employee Greg May said.
For his part, Ruffin plans to spend this week catching up. He will be looking at ways to revamp the county's internal audit process and ways to improve the human resource department.
"It's going to be a very busy winter and very busy spring," Ruffin said.
Ruffin's return does come with some strings attached. As part of the deal, he will meet quarterly with county commissioners for a job performance evaluation.
While some people were happy to have Ruffin back, there are clearly some who do not share those feelings. A survey conducted last spring found 12 percent of the county employees were not happy with Ruffin's performance.