Ruffin Hall is described as a "good communicator" which is something the city council wanted in a new manager
RALEIGH, N.C. -
Six months after firing Russell Allen as city manager, the city council voted unanimously today to approve Ruffin Hall as Allen's replacement.
Hall, the assistant city manager of Charlotte, was chosen from a field of 80 candidates. According to his contract, he will make a base salary of $215,000. He also will receive $6,600 as a vehicle allowance.
During a special meeting at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, it took the council only seconds to unanimously vote to hire Hall; whose personality seems to fit better with the current council and mayor.
"He's energetic, he's funny. He listens. He hears what you say," said Mayor Nancy McFarlane.
McFarlane said multiple times that finding a city manager who made communication "a priority" was essential.
Hall says he intends to do things a little differently than his predecessor.
"It's important to engage the community and talk to them about what their issues might be," Hall told WNCN. "Not every neighborhood has the same challenges and its important you make connections with them."
Daniel Coleman chairs the South Central Citizens Advisory Council. He spent some time talking to Hall after the council meeting and came away happy with what he heard.
"I'm excited about the possibilities of what he can do for us in this city as try to deal with the different challenges we have moving forward," Coleman said.
"His strength is bringing people together to solve problems in creative and innovative ways," Mayor McFarlane said.
Some who know Hall say connecting with people is one of his strong points.
"I think he's going to bring people together and form some relationships that are good for the community," said Raleigh resident Anne Scott who became friends with Hall during her days in Charlotte.
Although he spent years working in Charlotte, Hall has roots in the Triangle.
He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but quipped, "He understands we love the color red here in Raleigh."
Showing his sense of humor, Hall said, "I'm really excited to come back to a town that knows barbecue should be made with a vinegar base and not catchup."
He also drew applause by saying he was glad to be back in an area where college basketball, not the NBA, was king.
Hall said that in conversations about the position, he felt his background and experience would be a great fit for Raleigh's needs. For example, McFarlane mentioned some public transportation initiatives in Charlotte that Hall was involved in, and public transportation is a key part of Raleigh's future as the new Union Station comes online.