Having started work with the city of Laurinburg as a temporary student employee 24 years ago, new interim City Manager Harold Haywood said that he is excited about the opportunity to get to know his city better.
Tonight at 7 p.m. Haywood will sit alongside the city council during its regular monthly meeting for the first time in his long career.
“I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around it all,” said Haywood, who up until his swearing in last week worked full time as the city’s general services director.
“It has been a balancing act so far … and I am basically trying to get acclimated with a lot of the projects going on that I was not involved with (as general services director),” Haywood said.
Spending a lot of his time traveling between the city’s Barrett Building, where he works as city manager, and his old office, Haywood said that the past week has been challenging.
“But I welcome the challenge and the exciting opportunity for me to learn about the overall operation of the city. I think it will be a valuable experience for me.”
The value of that experience for Haywood is not as an item to bolster his resume, either. Haywood cherishes the opportunity to help the city he loves in a time of need.
“I was born and bred right here and I love the city of Laurinburg. My father, James Haywood, worked with the city for 43 years,” said Haywood. James Haywood worked for the city’s street department.
While having a “good historical grasp of how the city has always operated” was an important factor weighed into Haywood’s selection by the city council, Mayor Tommy Parker said that the decision had more to do with his temperament and knowledge of city projects.
“I think Harold is capable without a doubt. He has a calmness to him and is a good organizer, and he was (former city manager Ed Burchins’) right hand man. (Haywood) organized projects and was aware of a lot of the city’s projects,” Parker said.
Haywood credited the mayor and the city’s staff for helping him fulfill his new duties so far.
“They have all been very helpful. Without them I could not do any of it, and with them I have no doubt that we will get the projects moving along without any negative impact to the citizens,” Haywood said.
Parker agreed, saying that Haywood could only be as good as his supporting cast.
“It’s like a basketball team where a good pass leads to a basket. Only one guy gets credit for making the shot, but another gets the assist. I think there will be a lot of assists in the future.”
Tuesday’s meeting may seem like the calm after the storm to council following Burchins’ sudden resignation and the announcement that Police Chief John Evans will be retiring at the end of the month.
The agenda will include the presentation of employee service awards. 13 employees qualify for an award for reaching five years of service, while 13 more qualify for the award recognizing 15 years of service. Five city employees have reached the 20 year mark, as well.
Garage Department worker Willie Grooms has qualified for city recognition after 25 years of service and James Monroe of the sanitation department has passed the 30 years threshold.
In its consent agenda, the council will be asked to approve the condemnation of property at 202 Center Street as well as property at 341 Sawdust Lane.