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ELM CITY — After eight years, the town manager of Elm City is moving on to new career opportunities.
Jonathan Russell started with the north Wilson community on Aug. 1, 2010, and on Tuesday, he notified the town council of his resignation to take the city manager position in Washington, North Carolina. His final day in Elm City will be Nov. 2.
“I had mixed emotions when I heard,” said commissioner John Edwards. “I feel that the town of Elm City as a whole is losing an outstanding public servant who has done some great things for the town. On the other hand, it gives him an opportunity to advance in his career and be closer to his family.”
Russell, 38, is originally from Craven County and plans to relocate to Washington with his wife, Shannon, and the couple’s two young children.
“I have enjoyed my time in Elm City, and leaving is bittersweet,” Russell said. “I have enjoyed working with the council, staff and citizens and have developed friendships that will last a lifetime.”
After graduating with master’s degrees from East Carolina University, Russell served as the town manager in La Crosse, Virginia, and as an assistant city engineer in Greenville.
“Washington will be a great opportunity to grow within my career,” he said. “They have a population of approximately 10,000. The city operates with a staff of 250 and a $70 million operational budget. The opportunity to work within a larger agency is appealing and will provide a wide range of challenges and experience.”
Russell said town clerk Dena Owens will serve as the interim manager while a permanent replacement is hired.
“At this time, we haven’t decided which direction we want to go,” Edwards said. “There will be some work sessions in the coming weeks to work through because this is not something we want to do hastily. We have to come together as a commissioning board and make those decisions.”
Russell said he plans to help the town as much as possible before his final day.
“I will work to bring all current projects to a suitable transition stage during my remaining time in Elm City,” he said. “I will also provide continued technical assistance as needed to ensure all awarded grant money will be fully utilized.”