The Harnett County Board of Commissioners has named Joseph Jeffries Harnett County Manager.
The board voted unanimously to make Jeffries county manager during Monday morning’s commissioners meeting. Jeffries assumed the role of interim county manager in December 2014, following the departure of then-County Manager Tommy Burns.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Burgin said the board has been impressed by what Jeffries has accomplished while serving as interim manager.
“We value his ability to work with the board and department heads,” he said. “He doesn’t get ahead of his board and keeps us informed and is always there to offer support.”
“He is extremely responsive in anything we asked,” echoed Vice Chairman Gordon Springle.
Chairman Burgin said he has heard nothing but positive comments about Jeffries from county employees.
“Every staff member I’ve talked to says they appreciate the job Joseph is doing and that he’s willing to listen whenever they have anything to say,” he said.
In naming Jeffries county manager, commissioners made an exception to the job description, which states that the county manager must live in Harnett County. Jeffries lives just across the county line in Wake County, but he grew up in Angier and graduated from Harnett Central High School.
“The board felt that he has shown his dedication to Harnett County and while he may not live here, he owns property here and his life is here,” said Chairman Burgin. “As he continues to work with the county’s budget for the coming year, we wanted the citizens to have confidence that the person who’s developing the budget will be the same person who implements it. We felt like that was important going forward and we wanted to make it official.”
Jeffries attended East Carolina University, where he graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He was hired as Chief Planner with the Harnett County Planning Department in 2002. He was made Manager of Planning Services in 2003 and was promoted to Planning Director in 2006. He was made director of Planning & Development Services in 2007. He earned a certificate in County Administration from the UNC Institute of Government in 2005. He previously served as interim county manager in 2012 and was made deputy county manager in April 2013.
Jeffries said he is excited about the opportunity to serve as county manager.
“The position of county manager is the pinnacle of my profession and to take on that role in my home county is an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “I think it says a lot about what the board thinks of how the county is moving forward. It shows they have confidence in what I’ve done so far and it gives me added confidence to carry out the mission they’ve set for the county. I think we’ve got a good board that works well together and I appreciate their support and cooperation.”
Having come into the Harnett County through the Planning Department before taking on a role in administration, Jeffries said he understands the needs of county employees.
“When I started here, I felt like this was a great place to work, and I want all of our employees to have that same feeling,” he said. “We have an incredible group of employees working for Harnett County and I love working with them, as well as with our citizens, the towns and the chambers of commerce.”
He said Harnett County has much to be proud of and is well-positioned for the future growth and development.
“Harnett County is my home – my kids go to school here, my wife has her business here – and I want to do whatever I can to make a positive impact,” he said. “I want to improve the quality of life for the residents of Harnett County, and to me that includes everything from Parks and Recreation to job creation and better schools. I’ve been given a great opportunity and I want to use it to do some good things for Harnett County.”
Jeffries and his wife, Maria, have been married 17 years and have three children.