PITTSBORO — Larry Faison has spent most of his working life in public service, and now, he’s bringing his experience to Pittsboro to serve as the town’s interim manager.
“This opportunity advances my desire to continue providing public service,” Faison told the News + Record. “My time in Pittsboro has been as exciting and professionally invigorating as my prior two interim assignments in the towns of Kenly and Brevard, and I enjoy having the opportunity to continue meeting my desire to provide public service.”
Faison is the second interim manager Pittsboro has hired since former Town Manager Chris Kennedy — initially hired July 2020 — unexpectedly resigned last August. Hazen Blodgett was named interim manager last August, but his contract expired at the end of January.
Faison just wrapped up a temporary tenure at Brevard as its city manager, and prior to that, he served as the interim town manager in Kenly from October 2021 until June 2022. Prior to that, Faison worked full-time as the city manager of Monroe from October 2014 to July 2021 and Spring Lake from October 2007 to June 2009. He also served in the U.S. Military in the Army Reserves, where Faison commanded company-, battalion-, and brigade-sized units.
“The portfolio of services and operations that I have managed include airport operations, aquatic center, economic development, electric, finance, fire services, garage, gas, golf, IT, parks and recreation, police, solid waste, stormwater, streets, tourism, urban planning, water, and wastewater,” Faison said. “I have served as a manager or assistant manager in communities ranging in population from 1,500 to 75,000 residents with varying community factors, including those experiencing explosive growth, concerns related to coastal management, urbanization, and agriculture.”
During his tenure at Monroe and Spring Lake, Faison fell out of favor with both boards and was ultimately fired from his position. He said each of the municipalities terminated his contract because of a “difference in policy direction over personnel concerns.”
Nevertheless, he’s still thankful for the time he spent in those communities.
“Simply put, I entered employment in these communities expecting to make a difference, and I have no regrets about the time I spent serving these communities or the contributions I made,” Faison said. “Although each of these communities has a history of instability, I was humbled to have the opportunity to be employed by each and accepted their situations as a challenge and opportunity for professional growth.”
Leadership in both of those municipalities was “divisive,” according to Faison, and both boards had split votes when it came to his termination. Despite his frustrations with elected officials there, Faison said he was most thankful for the residents who continue to love their community.
“I was, and continue to be, inspired and encouraged by the strong community spirit found in both of these communities,” he said. “I hope this spirit will be a lasting catalyst for community leaders and that a few bad actors will not be allowed to be destructive and further divide their communities.”
Faison said after his termination at Monroe, he decided to retire from full-time municipal management and move into becoming an interim manager for towns needing those services.
Now in Pittsboro, Faison says he’s prepared for the challenges he will have to tackle as Pittsboro’s interim manager.
“Every community has its own personality with differing qualities and characteristics,” he said. “While there are some similarities across the board, a manager’s effectiveness leverages on appreciating and responding to these differences. As such, I expect my experience in Pittsboro will differ from others, as each has a unique scope, resource availability, and environmental characteristics.”
One Pittsboro faces is its water quality issues. The town recently filed a suit against over a dozen PFAS manufacturers alleging the companies knew PFAS could pollute waterways when used, and failed to alert downstream communities. In addition to the lawsuit, the town also has a laundry list of projects to upgrade its water and wastewater facilities.
“Each community I have worked with has had some form of an environmental issue or utility consolidation, merger, or capacity concern,” Faison said. “I will apply my experiences and lessons learned to the concerns in Pittsboro and work on advancing options, strategies, and solutions to address these issues.”
Faison said his job as the town’s stand-in manager is to ensure current projects continue in a timely manner, as well as ensure day-to-day town operations are running smoothly.
“As Pittsboro has many opportunities, ongoing projects, and initiatives underway, my role as the interim manager is to foster stability within the organization and facilitate the team’s success in current and future projects or policy initiatives,” he said. “ I look forward to contributing to the town’s initiatives in any form that I can.”
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.