The Town of Robersonville has hired a temporary, interim Town Manager, who hopes to navigate the town toward a new vision.
The town’s former manager J.P. Duncan left July 22 for another job.
Chris Roberson, 52, started the job Aug. 22 with 27 years of town management experience. He lives near Richlands in Onslow County.
His joked about his name being the same as the town’s without the “ville.”
“It’s unique. I don’t know how many town managers get to work in a town that is the same as their last name,” he said.
Roberson was in a transitional phase of his career when Robersonville Mayor Tina Brown contacted him. Formerly he had resigned after eight years with the town of Kenansville.
In the past, Roberson held management jobs with towns in Greene County and Craven County.
His position in Robersonville is a short-term contract.
“I guess the door is always open for it to become something more permanent,” he said.
He said the town is currently advertising for a full-time manager.
“I am not sure how long it will take to get a good, qualified one in here,” he said. He plans to guide leaders through the process of finding one.
“The town needs someone who can take the reins and move the town forward,” he added.
He admits it won’t come easily.
“There are some significant challenges we are going to continue to work through,” he said, which include earning back financial control of the town from the Local Government Commission (LGC).
“That is the mutual desire of the LGC and the town,” he said. “Once we get the reins back, we can start looking at long-term goals and creating a new vision for the town.”
This is not the first time Roberson has worked with the LGC regarding a town’s finances.
Kenansville was at the threshold of the LGC coming in and taking over the town’s financials, he said.
“We were able to stave it off and build the fund balance up and build financial accountability to get off the LGC’s watch-list,” he said. “That gave me experience in improving the financial condition of a municipal government.”
He said his first week on the job, things were “coming in fast and furious. There are a number of challenges that lie in front of us.”
His philosophy is “take one challenge at a time and mark them off as you get them resolved,” he said. “There are no challenges that cannot be addressed if the right effort is put into resolving them.”
Once Robersonville can gain control of the town’s finances, they can move on to more exciting things, he said.
“Robersonville is a very nice little town. Once we can get over this hurdle, we can start looking at more localized, desirable things like growth and seeking grants that will improve downtown and utilities. Then we can look at planning, marketing, economic development. We can create a new vision for the town that most people would be very pleased with,” he said.
“There is hope on the horizon. I feel confident we can make progress in a semi-quick fashion,” he added. “We have a lot of irons in the fire for a small town — it has a lot going on.
“I look forward to working with the staff, the board and the LCG to get the ship leveled, so to speak,” he said. “Then we can hopefully shoot for the moon.”