Dobson taps Neely for top job

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Dobson commissioners have selected Laura Neely as town manager, filling the vacancy left when Josh Smith resigned to accept a position with the town of Concord.

The board voted unanimously to appoint Neely to the post, which she had held on an interim basis since Smith left the town on June 15.

Prior to that, Neely worked as the town’s finance officer, a post she’s held since 2012.

“Laura has the full support of the board and the department heads,” said Commissioner John Lawson. “We are lucky to have her. As our finance officer, she demonstrated sound financial stewardship. As interim manager she proved herself to be an effective leader. Dobson has several major projects underway right now, and she will help the board keep things moving in the right direction.”

“I have worked closely with Laura over the years,” said Commissioner Robin Testerman. “Moving up to the position of manager may be tough on her at first, but she has the right skill set and heart for the job.”

Neely told the commissioners that she appreciated the trust they have placed in her.

“I know this is a heavy responsibility, but I have great support all around me,” Neely said. “I think it is important for me to convey to people what my ideas are and let them understand that I am here because I love Dobson and want to make a difference.”

As manager, Neely will be Dobson’s chief administrator.

“A manager is responsible to the town board for conducting all municipal affairs, including the administration of all departments, preparing and submitting the annual budget and capital program, attending all board meetings of the board and ensuring that all laws of the state, the town charter, and the ordinances, resolutions, and regulations of the town are faithfully executed,” the board said in announcing her appointment. “She will also perform any other duties that may be required or authorized by the board.”

Neely graduated in 2008 from UNC-Greensboro with a degree in finance. She is enrolled in an online program through UNC-Pembroke to obtain a master’s degree in public administration. She is married to Nathan Neely, and they have two children, Austin Neely, age 2, and Grayson Neely, age 1.

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