A local resident and former town employee will be returning to work in Elkin as the town manager effective May 7, after the Elkin Board of Commissioners unanimously approved hiring Brent Cornelison earlier this week.
Elkin commissioners approved the hiring of Elkin’s former recreation and parks director, at a rate of $85,000 a year during a second reconvened session of the board’s March meeting.
Cornelison moved his family to Elkin in 2001 to take the recreation and parks director role, which he held until 2009. At that time, he took the same position with the city of Statesville, but remained a resident of Elkin.
He will replace Town Manager John Holcomb, who also serves as the town’s finance director. Holcomb announced in December that he would retire at the end of June. He said he would still be available to work two or three days a week in the finance director role, but town officials have not said how they will handle the finance duties.
While Cornelison won’t start until May 7, he said he will be around as much as he can to familiarize himself with the town budget as Holcomb works to prepare that for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
He said when he learned about the opening in Elkin, he “felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
“There is a lot of very positive things happening,” Cornelison said of Elkin and his decision to return to work in the community where he lives. “This has always been home. We moved here in 2001 and just fell in love with it.
“The senior staff here I know, I worked with them before and they’re great. I know most of the other staff here,” he said. “It just was a great opportunity for me, I couldn’t pass up putting my name in the hat for it.”
Cornelison mentioned the newly adopted economic development strategic plan as one of the projects he looks forward to working on with the town leaders. “There are lots of exciting things in that. There’s opportunities for the town and the community. A lot of it is parks and rec minded as well, things that I have done, street scapes, gateways, trail building.
“There’s a lot of things that are really exciting, and I’m looking forward to working with council and the other community partners to see that plan come to fruition,” he said.
Cornelison is giving Statesville a 30-day notice. “I’m going to be as engaged as I can, it is budget time, budget prep for John, and I’m going to be as heavily involved as possible to help him just for my own knowledge so I’m comfortable when I get here,” he said.
The town continues its hiring and interview process for a chief to lead Elkin Fire Department. Interim Chief Don Mitchell announced earlier this year his desire to retire once a replacement could be hired.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.