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Council announces new city attorney




By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The City of Greenville announced on Monday the hiring of Emanuel McGirt as the next city attorney. 

During a special city council meeting on Monday, the council announced the position will go to McGirt, who has served as the senior assistant attorney for the City of Durham since 1997. McGirt will begin in Greenville on Oct. 30 with a starting annual salary of $156,633. 

McGirt is taking the place of current city attorney Dave Holec, 62, who has served the City of Greenville for almost 20 years, beginning in 1997. Holec’s last day in his role will be Nov. 1.

The city has been conducting its own search for a replacement since May when Holec announced his intentions to retire. The search was conducted by the city’s human resources department. The council conducted interviews with the five finalists on Sept. 15. 

"I am pleased to have been selected as the next city attorney for the City of Greenville," McGirt said in a news release from the city. "I have worked for the City of Durham for more than 20 years as an assistant city attorney, and I am excited to have the opportunity to lead a municipal law office. I have big shoes to fill in replacing David Holec, and I look forward to assisting the mayor and city council in carrying out its mission to provide all citizens with high-quality services and ensure a community of excellence."

McGirt earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1993. He also earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Morehouse College in 1988.

McGirt and his wife Dorothy have four children. Their son, Emanuel McGirt Jr., is a junior at North Carolina State University, where he plays for the Wolfpack football team. McGirt also is an associate minister at Mount Level Baptist Church in Durham, a position he has held for more than 10 years. 

"We are thrilled to appoint a new city attorney with the qualifications of Mr. McGirt," Mayor Kandie Smith said. "He has worked in municipal government for many years, and his experience will serve our city well. I also want to thank Dave Holec for his service, and wish him well in retirement."

McGirt will be responsible for providing legal advice and representation to the mayor, city council, city manager, and other city officials and employees. In the past, he has represented the City of Durham in state and federal trials, including defending Board of Adjustment decision appealed to superior court. He also has experience drafting ordinances in code enforcement. 

District 4 Councilman Rick Smiley said the council picked McGirt because of his vast experience in the state and municipal law. Smiley said they were impressed by his knowledge and his desire to serve Greenville and felt confident he would excel in that role. 

“He has 20 years of direct experience working as a municipal attorney,” Smiley said. “He clearly understood the role Greenville needed filled and he spoke expertly about his desire to fill that role.”

A city attorney has multiple responsibilities. In the position, Holec has drafted ordinances and resolutions for the council, wrote legal documents and contracts, and offered immediate legal advice during council meetings and those of other city boards and commissions. Currently, Holec supervises an assistant attorney whose primary focus is the police department, and he supervises litigation matters handled by outside counsel.

Contact Seth Gulledge at sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579.