ST. PAULS — The town of St. Pauls is flying a bit blind following Town Administrator J.R. Steigerwald’s recent resignation.
Meanwhile a search has begun, and it could take awhile.
Department heads are taking care of their departments, said Evans Jackson, a member of the town Board of Commissioners. In the event of a problem, issues follow the chain of command to the town clerk, and then to the appropriate oversight committee.
“In case of a real issue, we’re getting backup from the Lumber River Council of Governments,” Jackson said. “They’ve agreed to help us on things.”
So far, so good, according to Jackson.
Steigerwald walked away from the job he held for five years at the conclusion of the commissioners’ meeting on Aug. 9.
“We’ve been happy with his performance,” Mayor Gerry Weindel said shortly after Steigerwald resigned.
But, the time had come for a parting of the ways between the town and Steigerwald.
“We came to an agreement,” Weindel said after the Aug. 9 meeting. “The town was going in a different direction. We wish him well wherever he goes.”
Telephone calls to Steigerwald now are being directed to Town Clerk Debra McNeill. When asked, McNeill said via email that an interim town administrator had not been named.
The hunt for a new town administrator has started. The position has been posted on the town’s website, on various other professional administrative websites, and in printed publications.
“We would like this to be filled as soon as possible,” Jackson said. “There aren’t many vacancies in North Carolina right now, so this may take a while.”
The search that resulted in St. Pauls hiring Steigerwald lasted for eight months.
Steigerwald had been St. Pauls’ town administrator since July 1, 2013, and was paid $65,800 a year. His replacement’s salary will depend on the individual’s experience, skills, and knowledge.
The new administrator will have big shoes to fill, according to Jackson.
“J.R. was great at economic development,” Jackson said. “He brought in Sanderson Farms and Pepsi.”
St. Pauls is advertising for a well-rounded administrator, with economic development skills, grant-writing and code enforcement experience, and the ability to interact with the public, according to the placement ad.
“We need to bring our infrastructure up,” Jackson said. “Pepsi and Sanderson Farms stretch what we have, so we need grants to update our sewer and water plant.”
The town also needs grants for downtown revitalization, Jackson said.
In the meantime, the town is functioning well, he said.
“Everyone on the board has their own area of expertise,” Jackson said. “It is taking more time, but someone is here all the time getting things done.”
The Robesonian has tried without success to contact Steigerwald for comment.
Reach David at 910-416-5182 or [email protected]