Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 12, 2014

Ferguson resigns

BLUEFIELD — The search is on for a new city manager in Bluefield.

The city Board of Directors voted 5-0 Tuesday to accept the resignation of Jim Ferguson, who is stepping down from the post after a little more than 18 months on the job. The board also voted to appoint Bluefield Police Chief Dennis Dillow as interim city manager until the position can be filled.

The board voted after a brief, closed-door executive session to accept Ferguson’s resignation. Following the vote, Ferguson was asked if he wanted to make a comment.

“I don’t care to make a comment — no,” Ferguson told the board members.

After the meeting, Ferguson told the Daily Telegraph he was resigning for “personal reasons.” He didn’t elaborate.

“I wish the city the best, and will be available for consultation,” Ferguson said. “My last day is Feb. 16. I think the city has a great future and I wish them the best.”

Ferguson said he has no future plans, but is looking forward to going to the beach with his family.

Mayor Tom Cole said the city board would begin an immediate search for a new city manager.

“We will get to work on that quickly,” Cole said. “We will get to work on it and advertise as long as it takes to find the right candidate.”

Cole said Dillow will work as both police chief and interim city manager until a new city manager is hired.

“We feel our city will be in great hands with Dennis Dillow,” Cole said. “Dennis has a long career with the city and has worked his way up through the police department.”

“I’ll continue to do both,” Dillow said of the police chief and interim city manager duties. “I’ll fill in as needed. I’m humbled that they have chosen me to do this.”

Cole said he couldn’t comment on the reasons why Ferguson decided to resign.

“I would like to thank Jim for his contributions and the great work he has done,” Cole added.

Cole said the council must now be focused on finding the right candidate who can help to move the city forward.

Ferguson was hired as city manager in September of 2012 following the resignation of former City Manager Andy Merriman in May of 2012. Both City Attorney Brian Cochran and Bluefield Area Transit Director Patrick McKinney had previously served as interim city managers before Merriman was hired and before Ferguson was hired.

Ferguson worked as the vice president of operations and facilities for a four-state franchise that operated the local Hardee’s restaurant chains before being hired as city manager in 2012.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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