NEWS

Black Mountain town manager receives award from Land of Sky

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Town Manager Josh Harrold was presented the Robert E. Shepherd Excellence in Local Government Award by the Land of Sky Regional Council.

Black Mountain Town Manager Josh Harrold was presented the Robert E. Shepherd Excellence in Local Government Award at the Nov. 30 Land of Sky Regional Council Board of Delegates meeting.

According to a news release, the award is presented “to a local government professional who has shown great leadership in improving governance and service delivery, especially in the areas of regional cooperation and collaboration.”

The Robert E. Shepherd Excellence in Local Government Award was first dedicated in 2016 to honor the Land of Sky Regional Council’s first executive director who was with the organization for three decades.

The news release said Harrold was given the award “for his dedication and service to greatly enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the town of Black Mountain and our region.” He has been town manager since 2018.

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Mayor Larry Harris presented Harrold the award. Harris said the award is based on nominations and while he did not nominate Harrold, he believes Harrold is deserving of it.

Harris has served on the Land of Sky Regional Council.

“I don’t think it would have been as meaningful had I made the nomination because I have a long-standing relationship with a good many of the folks there and the leaders,” Harris said. “I don’t know that Josh will ever know who nominated him, but it could be a peer of his who works in government because it’s a close group.”

Harrold said he may never know who nominated him, but he is thankful for them.

“I would be very thankful to that person,” Harrold said. “Obviously I want to know a little more on why they thought that and just be very appreciative of that and they think that highly of me.”

Harris said it is difficult for town managers to get any recognition in the town they serve because it is a “tough job.” He described the work as “very complicated” and said it is often difficult to communicate to the public the role of the government in specific situations or to translate what the council decides to the public, but that Harrold does a good job of it.

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Harrold said he was honored to receive the award.

“I had no idea that I was even being considered for the award so whenever I found out that I was getting it I was extremely surprised,” Harrold said. “It means a lot coming from an organization which is a multi-county organization. To me that says a lot, coming from the region and the number of folks that thought enough of me to give me that award.”

As Harris transitions away from being Black Mountain’s mayor after the November election, he said he wishes the council and Harrold the best in working with new mayor Mike Sobol.

“I will say that I think council believes and supports that Josh is doing a good job and is very supportive of him,” Harris said. “That doesn’t mean to say that sometimes we don’t have differing opinions, but when we do, Josh is respectful and is always willing to take the direction of the council.”