Albemarle appoints Rhodes as interim city manager

(Photo courtesy of City of Albemarle)

ALBEMARLE — With Albemarle City Manager Michael Ferris set to retire at the end of February, the city named current-Assistant City Manager Darren Rhodes interim manager as the search process continues for a permanent replacement.

“Serving the city of Albemarle has been an honor,” Rhodes said in a city press release. “I look forward to continuing to work with our elected leaders and city staff to support the positive work we’re doing to serve our community.”

Rhodes was hired as assistant city manager under Ferris in Sept. 2022, joining the City of Albemarle’s staff with nearly 30 years of experience in state and local government.

Rhodes previously worked as development specialist for the City of Mount Airy, town manager of Walnut Cove, and chief planner for the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

He worked for eight years as manager of the North Carolina Rural Planning Program, a statewide program that provides strategic economic development planning, technical support and training to local governments in rural areas.

As the program’s manager, Rhodes assisted in helping communities respond to economic growth opportunities aimed at improving the quality of life, community capacity and preservation of rural character.

“The selection of Darren Rhodes as interim city manager allows us to have a stable environment while the city moves forward with essential services and critical projects,” Albemarle Mayor Ronnie Michael said in the city’s announcement. “Mr. Rhodes has proven to be a leader who is willing to work with everyone. We’re fortunate to have Mr. Rhodes skill, experience, and familiarity with our operations.”

Less than three months after joining Albemarle, Rhodes received the Old North State Award in recognition of his service to the state.

Presented by Governor Roy Cooper, the award recognizes “dedication and service beyond expectation and excellence to the Great State of North Carolina” to state workers who have served for at least 20 years.

Kenny Flowers, assistant secretary for the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, praised Rhodes’ leadership in a press release for the 2022 Old North State Award.

“Darren was an exceptional leader for the planning staff that works with the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center at the North Carolina Department of Commerce,” Flowers said. “In recent years, Darren was instrumental in positioning the Rural Planning team to coordinate a COVID recovery effort called Community Economic Resiliency and Recovery Initiative and the newest effort called Community Outdoor Recreation Economy program.”

As interim city manager, Rhodes will be tasked with overseeing Albemarle’s electric system, water and wastewater system, landfill facility, public housing department, parks and recreation department, police department, fire department and other city departments and services.