Chrisman at the helm

Published 12:46 am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finance officer runs county during search for new manager

Jim Chrisman, assistant Beaufort County manager and the county’s finance officer, has temporarily taken the helm of county government while the county’s elected leaders search for a replacement for former County Manager Paul Spruill.

Jim Chrisman

“I consider it a great opportunity to assist the Board of Commissioners as interim county manager. My goal is to deliver them the same quality of work they have come to expect while they focus their efforts on searching for Mr. Spruill’s replacement,” Chrisman told the Daily News. “In the budget process the board provided our staff with some clear directives they expect us to accomplish this fiscal year in the areas of technology investment and operational improvement.

“I look forward to initiating this process at their direction as well as assuming any duties necessary not previously assigned.”
Chrisman has eight years of experience working for Beaufort County and its governmental agencies.

In 2003, he was named to an administrative officer II position with the Beaufort County Health Department. The following year, he was appointed human-resources director for Beaufort County. Since 2005, he has served as Beaufort County’s assistant manager and finance officer.

Chrisman earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in 1996 and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in finance from East Carolina University in 2007.

As interim county manager, Chrisman will oversee a general-fund budget of approximately $50 million and, currently, 288 full-time employees, along with a countywide water enterprise budget of approximately $5 million with 25 full-time employees.
He will oversee the county’s governmental operations until the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners completes its search for a new county manager, a process its members hope to complete no later than October, according to board Chairman Jerry Langley.

In advertising for the position, the commissioners indicated a preference for someone with a combination of education and experience equivalent to a master’s degree in public administration or related field with at least 10 years of local government experience, preferably as a county or municipal manager in North Carolina.

In a July 2009 contract with Spruill, the commissioners set the county manager’s salary at $135,000, but they indicated in their advertisement for a new manager that compensation “is negotiable.”

Sources familiar with the negotiations have told the Washington Daily News the commissioners would prefer a candidate with experience with governments east of Interstate 95.

They have characterized the candidates interviewed to date as “highly qualified.”