Former district attorney Ron Moore tapped for interim town manager

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News|USA TODAY NETWORKS

Black Mountain's administrative offices will be under the leadership of former Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore, who will serve as the interim town manager while elected officials look for a permanent one.

Moore, who currently serves as the attorney for the town of Hot Springs, steps into the vacancy left by former manager Matt Settlemyer, who resigned abruptly May 22. Land of Sky Regional Council executive director Justin Hembree filled the role temporarily until elected officials could find an interim manager.

Prior to its regular monthly meeting on June 11, the board of aldermen met in closed session to discuss a personnel matter. When it emerged, mayor Don Collins announced Moore would serve as the town manager until a permanent replacement could be found.

Hembree, who was in the office as floods triggered a state of emergency in town, presided over the regular meeting. Moore starts Monday, June 18.

“We look forward to working with him and having his leadership,” Collins said at the close of the meeting. “I’m sure there will be things we can learn from him and that he can help us with.”

Five or six people expressed an interest in serving as the interim manager, Collins said in an interview the following morning. Moore’s 24 years of management experience as district attorney made him a good fit, according to the mayor.

“He hasn’t served as a town manager, but he has managed people in a government department,” Collins said. “What we’re looking for right now is a person who can just manage the people, because the town staff we have now know how to do their jobs. They know what to do, and we’re blessed in that regard.”

Moore’s name came up as a candidate for the role in discussions, and Collins reached out to him, he said.

“When I first approached him about it he said he hadn’t really thought about doing something like that, but he came and talked to us and the board felt confident he could do what we needed him to do as far as managing the town,” Collins said.

Moore will be tasked with maintaining the current structure of the town as the search for a permanent town manager gets underway. The next step in that process is a Thursday, June 21 presentation from the League of Municipalities, Collins said.

“They will show us how they can help our search for a full-time manager,” Collins said. “They’ve got resources they can share with us and show us what options are available. And we’ll proceed from there.”

Moore was "intrigued" when Collins approached him about serving as the interim manager, he said. 

"I'm from a small town in eastern North Carolina, Bath, which is the oldest town in the state," Moore said. "I come from a small town, and I've always had a special place in my heart for them."

During his tenure as the county's district attorney Moore came to know Black Mountain well, he said. 

"Black Mountain has always been a neat little town, and it's had good leadership for years," he said. "I've watched it grow into this popular destination for people to come visit while retaining its small town character."

Moore's organizational skills will help with the transition until the aldermen can find a permanent full-time manager, he said. 

"The town is transitioning from someone who has been there for five or six years and looking to find someone who will be here for an extended period of time in the future," he said. "They need somebody to bridge that gap, and I have no preconceived notions about how things are functioning now. They appear to be working well from the outside."