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Longtime Montreat town administrator Ron Nalley is leaving to become the chief of operations for the town of Lake Lure.

Nalley spent 11 years overseeing the administration of the town of Montreat.

"I think it's an exciting opportunity for me," Nalley said. "Lake Lure is around twice Montreat's size, and they have around 30 employees with a budget of around $7 million."

A graduate of the town, city and county management program at Appalachian State University, Nalley has spent 24 years in municipal government, including three years as assistant town manager in Black Mountain. Nalley was inspired to pursue a career in government while working in Montreat's  public works department as a 16-year-old.

"I started out in Montreat on the street crew during summers and after school," he said. "Pete Post was the town supervisor then, and (he) thought it might be good for me to look into the program at Appalachian State."

The population of Lake Lure was about 1,200 in 2013, according to the census then, compared to Montreat's 700. Nalley said there are similarities between the towns.

"Lake Lure is similar to Montreat in the sense that the population explodes during the summer," he said. "That also makes it a nice fit, because it's also a seasonal-type community and I have a lot of experience with managing systems that are designed for populations that expand outside of the winter months."

Montreat has been mired in turmoil in recent years, with some residents suing the town to prevent the construction of a new town hall. Nalley said "there's no doubt" that added stress to his job. "It wasn't the only thing that drove me to look for another position, but I do think it was time," he said.

Nalley believes Montreat is in capable hands.

"We have a wonderful staff in Montreat," he said. "I feel good about the opportunity in Lake Lure and I feel good about where we are in Montreat."

Nalley's last day as Montreat town administrator is July 15. He  begins his new job in Lake Lure on Aug. 1.

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