Forsyth County Manager Dudley Watts to retire

Published 12:05 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

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Forsyth County Manager Dudley Watts has formally announced plans to retire next year at the end of June.

Watts has served as manager of Forsyth County Government for 17 years. He was county manager for Granville County for 9 years and worked for four years in Pender County, where he served as a finance officer and an assistant county manager.

Watts’ tenure as Forsyth County manager has included helping guide the county through the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, building a new courthouse, adding several departments and creating new county parks.

County Commissioner Chair Don Martin said the commissioners have had a good relationship with Watts.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Dudley all seventeen of his years as county manager — eight years while serving as superintendent of schools and nine years as a county commissioner — the last year as chairman,” Martin said. “I have always found Dudley to be professional and respectful toward all people; he cares deeply about serving the citizens of Forsyth County. He is a great problem solver and has surrounded himself with extremely capable staff.  He is respected by his peers across the state and received the John E. Whitehurst Award from the N.C. City and County Management Association. Dudley has always provided our county commissioners with the necessary background material and ample opportunities to get our questions answered.”

County Commissioner Vice Chair Gloria Whisenhunt said Watts’ retirement was “bitter sweet” for the commissioners.

“He has been such a dedicated manager, I certainly wish him the best,” Whisen hunt said. “Dudley is such a level-headed, thoughtful manager. He just has a God-given talent for managing and we are very lucky to have him. And he has a reputation across the state, and everyone agrees he is the best manager in North Carolina.”

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners will hold listening sessions later this year to see what residents want in the next manager. The county will advertise the position and the county commissioners will appoint the new manager.