W. Brian Hiatt has served as Concord's City Manager since 1998. He came to Concord from Hickory where he served as Assistant City Manager for over 10 years. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in History and Government Service from Appalachian State University where he was a summa cum laude graduate, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been recognized as a Credentialed City Manager by ICMA.
Active in the community, Brian is a Past President of the Academic Learning Center and continues to serve on that Board. He is on the Board of Directors for the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation and the Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County. Brian has served as the Chair of the Cabarrus County United Way Board three times since 1999, most recently in 2015, and was Chair of the United Way Campaign in Cabarrus County in 2002. He is a Past-President of the Concord Rotary Club, where he was named Rotarian of the Year in 2012, and the Lake Hickory Rotary Club. He is also a former board member of Hospice of Cabarrus County. He is a Past President of the North Carolina City and County Management Association, having served as President in 2012-13, and has served on several committees supporting the International City and County Management Association. Brian was a member of the Board of Directors of the NC League of Municipalities from 2004 through 2008. Brian is married to Julie, and they have two grown children, Andrew and Erin.
by Brian Hiatt
In August, I made the Mayor and City Council aware of my intent to retire from the City of Concord with a target date of March 2018. I wanted to give the Mayor and City Council plenty of notice so they had time to hire their next City Manager, and the City Council is well underway with that process, working towards selecting a new City Manager early in 2018.
This was a very difficult decision for me as Concord is a special place to live and work, but it is time for me to prepare to move on to my next challenge, whatever that may be, and spend more time with my family. I am very grateful to those in the Concord community for making this such a rewarding job and a great home for my family. My interactions with Concord citizens and business owners on service requests, neighborhood needs, City projects, or just to provide me with advice, have made this such a wonderful experience since I arrived in 1998.
One of the many reasons I have been blessed in my role is because voters in Concord have always elected Mayors and Council Members with constructive agendas who are focused on doing what they feel is best for citizens. These elected officials provided direction and set expectations leading to so many significant accomplishments, all while honoring the City Manager’s role in the Council-Manager form of government. Our elected officials have been fiscally conservative, but also understood the importance in investing in our infrastructure and focusing on services and facilities that enhance the quality of life. The evolution of our infrastructure and quality of life, combined with Concord’s location, has led to a healthy economy that benefits us all. It has also made this community attractive to a diverse population, as well as new and expanding employers.
I think back to the Mayor and Council that hired me. Mayor George Liles and Council Members Alfred Brown, Sr., David Phillips, Scott Padgett, Jim Ramseur, the late Allen Small, Lamar Barrier, and the late Hector Henry, II brought me to Concord and I am indebted to them for that and for making me feel so welcome. Others that joined the Council later were Al Brown, Jr., Randy Grimes, Ella Mae Small, John Sweat, Jennifer Parsley, Sam Leder, and Brian King. They continued the Concord tradition of dedicated elected officials working together toward common goals with respect for each other and staff, even when they disagreed on a particular direction. That has been refreshing to me. It has provided a professional environment to work and do business during a time when many other governing entities have struggled with civility and the inability to provide leadership that produces results.
Special thanks go to recently retired Mayor Scott Padgett. He was the Mayor for sixteen of the nearly twenty years I have been City Manager. Every municipal manager will tell you the Mayor’s style will impact the role and workload of the City Manager. The Mayor can also make it difficult for the Manager if he or she does not respect the statutory responsibilities of the City Manager. Mayor Padgett had a great understanding of the Manager’s role, and supported me and all staff in trying to do good work. His untiring efforts in providing leadership and being so accessible to individuals and groups in our community always made my job easier.
I would have a lesser feeling of accomplishment if we did not have a great team of coworkers working on the front lines. While the City Manager is sitting in an office, or meeting with citizens or business operators, or making presentations, there are hundreds of coworkers out in our City delivering the services that make or break a municipal organization. One customer interaction gone wrong can frame the perception of any organization, regardless of who leads it. No service organization is always perfect, but our coworkers have remained focused on customer service, worked hard, and learned from mistakes when things did not go as planned. I am proud of the coworkers that have worked for the City since 1998 and I thank them.
I also express my appreciation to those that have served on our management team over the years, including deputy and assistant managers and department heads. The department heads have been charged with not only being functional experts in their fields, but also providing leadership and managing their departments consistent with our core values. These fine people and the coworkers in their departments have always made me look good, particularly with their creativity in meeting the service needs of a growing community. These department heads, and assistants/deputies such as Tim Lowder, Jim Greene, Jim Hipp, Merl Hamilton and Lloyd Payne, have always provided me with honest feedback and sound recommendations that made decision making easier.
Finally, I have to thank my family. My wife Julie has been by my side the entire time. When they were living at home, my son Andrew and my daughter Erin also had to put up with me during my career in local government. Julie, Andrew, and Erin have always been supportive and understanding when I have been in meetings or in the office nights or weekends. I owe a great deal of any success I have had to them.
I ask the Concord community to continue to be engaged with your local governments. These are the units of government closest to the people that are often the catalyst for new ideas and carry the responsibility for measurable results in our current world. I certainly feel good about Concord as the most recent election once again involved several strongly qualified candidates seeking to provide leadership to have an impact in their town. I congratulate new Mayor Bill Dusch and new Council Members Terry Crawford and JC McKenzie. While there is so much focus on the politics of government at the Federal and State levels, local governments have to be accountable and attentive based on community needs, and not on divisive pundits or spin masters. If positive change is going to occur, more than likely the idea that brings about that change will be birthed at the local level and not through a Federal or State mandate.