The Oct. 21, 2019 board of commissioners meeting was a bittersweet one. That night was Ann Hardy’s final meeting as our county manager. Our board passed a resolution in her honor, and Representatives Deb Butler and Frank Iler presented her with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. I rarely get emotional during meetings, but I choked up trying to read the resolution and had to hand it to another commissioner to complete. I can unequivocally state that every member of our board loves Ann and considers her a friend. She did a phenomenal job, and we will miss her.
At the same time, we are excited to welcome our new county manager, Randell Woodruff. Randell is an experienced manager who has served as manager of three coastal counties prior to coming to Brunswick County. When I spoke with Ann prior to her joint agenda planning meeting with Randell during their overlapping transition period, she said “I don’t think he needs my help” and re-emphasized that we had made a good choice. I share Ann’s confidence, and we are excited to have Randell at the helm moving forward.
As Randell settles in, I would caution others to avoid comparing Randell to Ann. They are two different people with different backgrounds, approaches and likely different management styles. Ann had experiences and institutional knowledge Randell does not, but he also has experiences and a perspective she did not.
Change can be uncomfortable, but it also presents opportunities. Under Ann Hardy’s leadership, Brunswick County has been one of the most well-managed county or municipal governments anywhere in America. Now, we have the opportunity to build on her legacy with Randell at the helm.
The Board of Commissioners presented retiring County Manager Ann Hardy with a framed resolution thanking her for her service during her final meeting on Monday, Oct. 21.
Retiring Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, the highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor, at the beginning of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019.