Chris Carter — expected to be Georgetown’s new administrator — says he has a passion for historic preservation which he hopes will be a benefit to the city.
Carter, who has been in city administration for more than two decades, has been offered the job that became available when Chris Eldridge vacated the position last May. His hiring will become official if City Council approves his employment package next week.
In an interview with the Georgetown Times Wednesday, 56-year-old Carter said he hopes to begin his new job Feb. 7.
He is currently the administrator for the Town of Williston in Barnwell County, a job he has held since December 2010.
His wife Joan is a middle school teacher in Flat Rock, N.C. She plans to finish the school year then relocate to Georgetown this summer.
Before moving to Williston, Carter was the North Wilkesboro, N.C. town manager for six years.
Carter’s additional professional experience includes serving as interim finance director, planner and supervisor in Sylva, N.C. He also worked as adjunct professor of political science at the Spartanburg Community College.
He graduated from UNC Greensboro and later he received a master’s degree in public administration from Appalachian State.
Carter said his knowledge of Georgetown is limited but he can’t wait to move to the city to begin learning everything he needs to know.
He said his experience, especially his time in Hendersonville, will help him with his new job.
“That is a community similar to Georgetown,” he said of the North Carolina mountain town. “It is a little larger.”
He said before applying for the job, he had driven through Georgetown in the past.
“I was familiar with it being a port city,” he said.
He was also drawn to the job because of the Historic District.
“I have always had a professional interest in historic preservation,” he said. “We had an aggressive historic preservation effort in Hendersonville. I will offer what support I can.”
He said in some places, such as Hendersonville, they have committees that promote historic districts. He said that may possibly be something that can be created in Georgetown.
Besides the Historic District, Carter said he applied for the job because of the city’s location. He has held jobs in the Pee Dee and mountains but never along the coast. He said since there are only three port cities in the state, he knew this was an opportunity he wanted to pursue.
Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville said one of the things that he likes about Carter is his experience in running “full service cities,” meaning cities that have their own utilities such as electric, water and sewer.
Carter said Hendersonville has about 25,000 customers on its municipal water system.
“I am very accustomed to the utility side. It is an area where we can build customer relations with the citizens,” he said.
Carter said he has had a lot of experience with the state regulations concerning utilities.
He said he realizes he will not have long to get settled into his new job before it is time to start building the 2013-14 budget for the city.
“Budgeting can be a good public relations tool. It can be if you make it an understandable process,” he said.
Carter said he also has a plan to try to help with economic development in Georgetown.
“The first thing I plan to do is ask council to approve a needs assessment which will show what we can do to make the city more attractive to businesses,” he said.
While he is looking forward to his new job, Carter said he will miss the people in Williston.
He said when he told members of that town’s council of his decision, they said they understood why he wanted to make the move.
“One of the board members knows a lot about Georgetown and told me it will be a great place to live,” Carter said.
He said he will live within the city limits because it is important to get out to know residents after 5 p.m.
He said he hopes other city officials will introduce him to the “key leaders” within the city.
“If they steer me, I can build the relationships,” he said.
When asked if he plans to stay in Georgetown long, Carter said this is where he hopes to retire.
“It will be OK with me if this is my last first dance,” he said. “That is where I hope to live after I retire.”
By Scott Harper
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