Avril Pinder chosen to be next Buncombe County manager

    Buncombe commissioners name Avril Pinder county manager. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

    Buncombe County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to offer the manager job to Avril Pinder.

    Pinder, who was deputy county manager of New Hanover County, will be the fourth person to serve in the position in less than two years.

    The county's last two managers, Wanda Greene and Mandy Stone, pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.

    “This is a critical time in our community and we have known from the start that whoever got this position would face a very interesting set of challenges,” said Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.

    Commissioners said there were more than 50 applicants for county manager.

    "When I looked at the applications and looked at the qualifications, she stuck out to me from beginning to end,” said Buncombe County Commissioner Al Whitesides.

    Though some commissioners said Pinder's more than 20 years in local government makes her the right person for the job, a few said they weren't too happy with the way the search process ended.

    "It was a tie for the top three -- 2nd and 3rd, but we were unable to bring the 3rd one in because of a split decision," said Buncombe County Commissioner Robert Presley.

    "When you have a tie in a ball game or anything else, you have to play until the game is over. We didn't play until the game is over," said Buncombe County Commissioner Mike Fryar.

    Despite their concerns, both Presley and Fryar said they will support Pinder, 100%

    “I am delighted to have this opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful community,” Pinder said in a news release. “I am looking forward to working with a board, staff and community dedicated to public service. Buncombe County had a stellar reputation, and, after everything that has happened recently, I am committed to regaining the public’s trust and working with the citizens, board and employees to continue to deliver the service they want and deserve.”

    Pinder's first day as county manager is March 4. She will be getting paid an annual base salary of $198,000.

    “In her leadership positions, Pinder has been involved in proactive planning, preserving key environmental resources, improving quality of life, affordable housing efforts, and addressing the opioid crisis,” commission chairman Brownie Newman said in the release. “Her experience will be valuable as we address these issues in Buncombe. Additionally, her enthusiasm and reputation among her peers and community really resonated with the board.”

    George Wood is serving as the interim county manager.

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