It’s been apparent that changes are coming to Mebane’s municipal leadership in city hall since city manager David Cheek announced in August that he was planning to retire February 1, 2021.
The council immediately designated assistant city manager Chris Rollins as the heir apparent, to take the top position upon Cheek’s retirement.
Meanwhile the city set about in search of a new Number Two.
City manager-designate Chris Rollins, who was in charge of the team of officials searching for his replacement, recently settled on Preston Mitchell, the city manager in Reidsville.
The apparent “step down” from manager to assistant manager is not unprecedented in Mebane’s case. Rollins himself was the city manager in Graham for more than eight of his 23½ years with that city before accepting the post of assistant city manager in Mebane.
Mitchell, has been city manager in Reidsville for five years after serving 10 years as town manager in Nashville, North Carolina. He had begun his career in municipal government as town manager in La Crosse, Virginia for a year prior to his North Carolina jobs.
Mitchell, 41, is a 2002 graduate of East Carolina University, and received his graduate degree there two years later.
In a phone interview with The Alamance News this week, Mitchell said he and his family are looking forward to the move to Mebane. “The city of Mebane has a great reputation,” he said in response to his decision to seek the assistant manager’s position. “I’m excited to be joining a great organization.”
“A lot of prayer, thought, and discussion went into the decision to make the move,” Mitchell added.
“Mebane also has a great reputation as a community. So from both a professional and personal perspective,” he said, the family is looking forward to the new location.
Mitchell’s wife, Carleigh, works with State Employees’ Credit Union and hopes to make a move to the institution’s Mebane office. The couple also has two school-aged daughters. Mitchell said he hopes that the girls will be able to finish the school year in Rockingham County before making the move to Mebane.
The announcement of Mitchell’s departure was made last Tuesday to Reidsville’s city council. No formal announcement of his selection by Mebane has been made, but Rollins confirmed to The Alamance News that Mitchell is scheduled to start his work with Mebane on January 11.
That timeframe will allow about three weeks for the two men to share the assistant manager’s duties before Rollins is formally elevated into the city manager’s chair.
“He was clearly the best candidate [interviewed],” Rollins said, expressing confidence in the selection.