Charlotte Asst. Manager Tapped for Raleigh

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The search for Raleigh’s new city manager is over.

City Councilors Friday named 43-year-old Ruffin Hall as Raleigh’s new city manager. Hall is an assistant city manager in Charlotte and will be starting his new post in the City of Oaks in November.

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Hall was chosen from a national candidate pool that included 80 applications. Prior to serving 12 years in Charlotte, Hall worked in Durham, Chapel Hill and Wilmington. While he has never lived in Raleigh, Hall said he was happy to come back to the Triangle.

The Fayetteville native joked that he was happy to return to the part of North Carolina that uses a vinegar base for its barbecue sauce.

In April, Councilors announced they would not renew then City Manager Russell Allen’s contract. Allen served as city manager for 12 years.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said that one of the most important characteristics the Council was looking for in a new city manager is the ability to communicate effectively.

Hall said he takes a collaborative approach to problem solving in which he would gather the right people at the table to come up with the best solutions.

“I’m not going to compare myself to managers of the past,” he said.

Since Allen’s termination, some have questioned how involved Councilors should be in the city’s daily operations. When asked what he thought Councilors should play in operations, Hall said, “There’s no hard-and-fast rule on those sorts of things.”

The Council, he said, is responsible for setting policy and direction for the city, while the manager oversees the daily operations.

“Obviously, there are situations where those two things overlap,” he said.

Hall said that he wants to work with City Councilors on how to approach those types of situations.

Charlotte has seen growth in recent years, and one of its most notable advancements is its transit system. But Hall said that he doesn’t plan to necessarily bring the same ideas and programs to Raleigh.

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He said there might be some things that worked in one city that could work in the other, but he won’t know until he sits down with department heads and employees.

“I do not have a playbook that I’m going to dump on everybody and say, ‘this is how we’re going to do things,’” Hall said.

Hall said he is familiar with the ongoing transit debate in Wake County, but doesn’t know enough to provide any comments, but he said that the thing he did learn in Charlotte about transit is to have a plan and to focus on transit as part of the overall system.

As for how Hall will manage the city’s growth, when asked if he memorized the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, Hall replied with a smile, “I’ve read the summary section.”

Despite that, Hall went on to say, “The comp plan and the Unified Development Ordinance is the some of the best planning and development work I’ve ever seen.”

City Councilors have been meeting regularly to discuss the hiring of a new city manager in order to meet a self-imposed deadline of Oct. 1.

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