Three veteran city employees retire

Published 9:56 am Monday, December 26, 2016

From a man who inspected floors to a man who worried about people slipping on floors to a man who kept floors at City Hall polished to near perfection, the City of Washington had three long-serving employees retire this month.

City Manager Bobby Roberson said the three employees, working in and out of City Hall, did not want the city to make a big production of their retirements, preferring small, low-key retirement events to signal their departures from city employment.

Bill Lurvey, the city’s risk-management official, had his low-key retirement event at the city’s headquarters fire station Dec. 13. Wayne Harrell, the city’s chief building official, had his drop-in retirement party Wednesday afternoon. William Conner, the maintenance supervisor who took pride in his care of City Hall, from basement to third floor, retired after three decades of keeping City Hall immaculate.

Harrell used his experience as a building official to open the door to another opportunity when not on the city’s time. “I’ve got a consulting business,” he said, referring to Inner Banks Consulting, formed in February.

In an interview with the Daily News about 20 years ago, Connor made it clear that keeping the tile floors at City Hall gleaming was a point of personal and professional pride for him. Connor treated City Hall like it was his daytime home, which it was for 30 years. “I spent some nights here, too, keeping the boilers going,” he said.

Lurvey’s main duty was to minimize any insurance risks the city might face in its many operations, whether day-to-day events or special, one-time projects and programs. By working to minimize the risks faced, Lurvey played a role in minimizing the insurance premiums the city paid. Lurvey’s mantra was safety.

Under his watch, the city received notable safety awards, some from the N.C. Department of Labor.

Good safety plays a role in city budgets, Lurvey noted in an interview several years ago.

“It all funnels in to the cost of doing business for the city. … The city’s got to budget money every year for auto liability, building (insurance). … The less money we pay for that, the more money we’ve got to do other things with.”

“These three employees have contributed successfully to the organization. Different city managers have different goals depending on the election of the Mayor and City Councils to office. The employees all accepted the challenges, completed their assignments and were available on weekends and holidays, if required. We will truly miss their talents and skills. We wish them and their families all the best. They deserve it!” Washington City Manager Bobby Roberson wrote in email.











About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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