James Ayers selected as Manteo’s next town manager

Published 6:16 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Manteo Board of Commissioners has selected James E. Ayers II as the new town manager, as announced in a January 9 release. Ayers will assume his new responsibilities by mid-February, subject to formal appointment and approval of terms of employment in an open board meeting.

“On behalf of our town Board of Commissioners, I congratulate Mr. Ayers on his selection after a rigorous search process,” said Mayor Bobby Owens. “We considered many well qualified candidates and deliberated carefully and we thank everyone who applied. James Ayers is an experienced and resourceful local government manager and we were particularly impressed with his public and private sector experience in engineering, public works and budget development and administration. He will work hand in hand with our board, citizens and town employees to help make Manteo an even better place to live, work and visit.”

“I am honored that the board chose me to serve as the next Manteo town manager,” said Ayers. “I will work hard to earn the trust and confidence of the town’s residents, employees and elected officials. I look forward to continuing the standards of excellence established and exhibited by my predecessor. My wife Elise and I love Manteo and the Outer Banks and we look forward to becoming active members of the Manteo community.”

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Ayers currently serves as general services director for the City of Asheville and he also served as interim human resources director. He is responsible for construction, operations and maintenance of city facilities, including the historic City Hall, vehicle fleet management, real estate acquisition and management and related functions.

He previously served as assistant town manager and director of engineering and public works for the Town of Bluffton, SC, a coastal community near Hilton Head. Prior to that, Ayers worked in real estate development and construction management in South Carolina and elsewhere.

Ayers earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University, with a double major in engineering science and economics. He also has a Master of Science degree in administration from Central Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Municipal & County Administration program at the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia and the International City/County Management Association’s Leadership ICMA program.

The board received 40 applications, considered a number of well qualified candidates with extensive local government management experience and selected seven candidates for interviews. The Mercer Group, Inc., a national public sector executive search and consulting firm with an office in Raleigh, assisted the board with its search. Owens said that the board greatly appreciated the valuable input of citizens and town department heads about the qualifications, experience and characteristics that the board should be looking for in the next manager. “Our consultant produced an attractive and informative recruitment brochure that included those criteria and we used those as a guide in making our decisions,” Owens said.

Ayers will succeed Kermit Skinner, who retired on December 31.

“We thank Kermit Skinner for his dedicated service to our citizens and his many remarkable achievements,” said Owens. “He led our town staff with great professionalism for 28 years and he is highly respected across North Carolina. Our new town manager will find that Kermit left the administration and finances in very sound condition, with the assistance of our excellent town staff.”