Bunch hoping to ease transition
By Jon Hawley
Monday, February 19, 2018
Rodney Bunch's nearly 30-year career with Pasquotank County is down to a final checklist.
Bunch, who announced last September he plans to retire when his contract ends this month, discussed his remaining few weeks as Pasquotank county manager in an interview last week.
Following a national search, county commissioners are expected to announce Bunch’s successor — potentially even this week, according to county staff.
Bunch explained in the interview that he didn't expect the new manager to be in place before he steps down, but he's still been working to make the transition smooth.
One of the things Bunch has been doing is reviewing and, where necessary, seeking to renew the county's many contracts with other governments, such as Elizabeth City and Camden, and other organizations. Those contracts provide for emergency services, parks and recreation, and many other services, he said, and taking care of them now will make the new manager's first months easier.
The new manager should also benefit from stability in the county's workforce. Bunch noted the county has replaced retiring department heads, including in the solid waste department and human resources. As best he knows now, Bunch said, no more department heads are planning to retire soon.
Even though Bunch is working to make the transition as smooth as possible for his successor, there's still going to be a lot of work for the new manager. Probably the biggest challenge for the next manager will be compiling next year's county budget. The budget takes well over a month to prepare, and it must be in place before July 1.
Going forward, if county officials need his help, Bunch said he's “only a phone call away.”
Asked about his final thoughts on his career, Bunch said he continues to love the work.
“It was still very much something I was excited to do,” Bunch said.
In particular, he said he enjoyed interacting with people, and adapting when unexpected things happened.
Bunch’s long career with the county includes stints as both planning director and assistant county manager before he was named county manager in 2013.
County commissioners have praised Bunch's service as county manager, crediting him with helping finalize the lease of what's now Sentara Albemarle Medical Center and, over the years, helping the county advance some priorities despite limited funding.
Under Bunch, the county has found the funding for long-deferred employee raises, increased support for Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, and invested in new communications equipment for first responders.