Chapel Hill's next manager will be a white male

My, that seemed fast! And then there were three:

Three Finalists Announced for Town Manager

6/02/2006 - Today, the Chapel Hill Town Council announced its three finalists for the position of Town Manager. The three are Frank Ragan, Deputy City Manager of Community Services in Aurora, Colo.; Roger Lane Stancil, former City Manager in Fayetteville, N.C.; and Sean R. Stegall, Assistant City Manager in Elgin, Ill.

"We are very fortunate to have such qualified candidates," Mayor Kevin C. Foy said Friday. "Each of these people would do an excellent job in Chapel Hill, and I think the Council faces a tough choice."

The finalist candidates will be in Chapel Hill June 20-21 for interviews with the Town Council and Town Staff. The Council will hold a Public Forum at 7 p.m. June 21 in the Council Chamber of Town Hall. Candidates will make short presentations and take questions from the public and the Council. The Council will also receive feedback from the public about the finalists. The forum will be cablecast live on Government Cable 18.

"We look forward to the public process," Foy said, "where citizens will have the opportunity to observe and interact with the candidates."

- Town of Chapel Hill Press Release, 6/2/06

Updates on the search and more about the candidates are here:



Once again, the out-of-town experts... There doesn't seem to be much value placed on knowledge of place in these matters.

Just out of curiousity. When will we (can we already) view the other candidates applications. I would assume since this is a government position that our taxes will pay for there is an option for citizens to review them?


If my memory serves me correctly, applicants for the Manager's position were assured confidentiality until the point at which they became finalists. So unless applicants waived their right to confidentiality (and I'm not sure whether that was an option offered) we may not know who the other candidates were. I don't expect many will come forth on their own to say that they were candidates but didn't make the final cut.

I'd like to add a clarifying statement to:
6/02/2006 - "Today, the Chapel Hill Town Council announced its three finalists for the position of Town Manager. "
I'd like folks to understand that there was a council committee that chose the final three. The entire council entrusted the council committee with the process to this point. So when it says "The Chapel Hill Town Council announced", it does not mean that I actually was a part of the process to choose these 3 candidates. I found out who the 3 candidates were late last night, not much before anyone else.
At this point, I am not offering up any opinions to the three chosen until I delve further into their applications and interview them (so don't ask!! :).
Thanks to the council committee for the hours they spent in the process.

I noticed this in the N & O story, I think it merits more discussion:

"The three finalists vying to replace Chapel Hill Town Manager Cal Horton... include the former city manager of Fayetteville, Roger Stancil.

Stancil was forced into retirement in April by council members with whom he clashed over annexation and other issues."

If I recall correctly, the annexation was a social justice issue where African-Amerrican neighborhoods were asking to be included in the town so they could have city water and other services. Which side was Stancil on? Were there sides? Anyone know more about this?

I'm disappointed too that there are no finalists who are women or racial minorities.

That said, considering who the consultants and the councilmembers on the committee were, I am absolutely sure that there is no malice in that fact.

They went through a thorough and thoughtful vetting process, I'm sure they gave all candidates fair consideration, and I'm confident came up with the three best candidates for Chapel Hill. I look forward to hearing from them.

Fayetteville annexed neighborhoods that didn't want to be annexed, if I recall correctly. The incumbent Mayor and several Councilmembers were voted out of office in the first election where the new residents could vote- they were very angry about the higher taxes. The new Council majority forced out the manager.

This certainly doesn't disqualify him in my book. In some sense it's a badge of honor to get forced out by anti-tax zealots.

Also I should add that the former Mayor of Fayetteville who got voted out was a black progressive- so if there was ever any racial justice issue at play Stancil was likely on the correct side of it.


If it was anything like the annexation area in Carrboro, some folks lost their homes over those higher taxes.

I would think that would fall under "social justice" instead of you labelling them anti-tax zealots.

Picture for a moment that you, like myself, are not a recent college graduate who has had access to such amenities as free food from parents/scholarships. Imagine you're someone with a job and a family and a home. Then you're annexed. In Carrboro's case the town hardly even tried to hide the fact it was for revenue. You now have to sell your home because you can't afford the taxes.

Now, maybe a detailed look should be taken at Mr. Stancil --instead of assuming that because his employer was a minority and the annexees didn't want to pay taxes for services they didn't want that he was "on the correct side of it."

So please stop assigning sides and just figure out whether the man is qualified. I'm sure it was an accident on your part, but politics like that make me sick. No wonder the country's going in the crapper.

Cumberland County, 2002:

In a matter of months, thousands of Cumberland County homeowners were supposed to be annexed into Fayetteville, but now they may have to wait a year.

For 30 years, Jessie Tedder had to deal with a bad septic tank in her Lombardy Drive home. She and her husband use a portable commode, and they seldom have company.

Tedder was looking forward to new sewer service this year as a result of annexation, but now that Fayetteville could lose up to $7 million from the state and the county, City manager Roger Stancil wants to hold off on the project until June 2003.

"All I need is a hurricane or a tornado or something, and I'm going to have a flood in my yard," Tedder said.

Stancil said if his recommendation is approved, the designs for annexation will go forward this year and the actual installation of the septic tanks would only be delayed by a couple of months.


Yes, but the difference, Ruby is that Carrboro isn't extending any high-dollar services for their tax dollars. ( We did get trash pick up.) All the Fox Meadow and other area B residents that have well and septic will continue to have well and septic unless they shell out the $40,000 per home for an OWASA extension.

Annexation in areas where the town taxes pay for the water and sewer and the schools can be beneficial to annexed residents. In the case of Carrboro, it only benefitted the BOA, who didn't have to raise taxes on current residents during an election year.


How did you come up with the $40,000 per home connection costs to OWASA?

Here's a link to current rates & fees, if you need it.


I don't think this has anything to do with Carrboro, personally.


The cost of sewer connections for some of the newly annexed areas does look like it will be quite high based on the distance between the main Carrboro is installing away from the outer perimeter of those neighborhoods. Katrina's criticism is of the town's decision to run the main such a short distance into north Carrboro rather than a criticism of OWASA.



I'd still like to see what's behind the $40,000 figure. It seems highly inflated.


On the Carrboro site you can find "11-1-04NEAnnexationPublicInformationMeetting.pdf". Quoting from page 34...

"Approximate Per Unit Water and Sewer Service Extension Costs - $30,561 to $49,561", so it's actually higher than Katrina stated.

The costs are broken down by extension costs, "Availability Fees" (whatever those are), connection fees, and private connection costs. The sewer totals are about $20K to $29K, and the water totals are about $10K to $20K.

I apologize for straying off topic, but I'm a little disturbed that those figures are a surprise to you, Mark. My neighbors and I hope that the OWASA board will become fully informed before there is any discussion of services in this area.

Got your tinfoil hats?

Let's take a look at our three candidates:

Roger Lane Stancil, former city manager of Fayetteville
From Fayetteville Online
"A wary mistrust, election and political agendas, a standing disfavor among annexed residents, perceived missteps in planning and spending, and his often-maddening habit of keeping information to himself too long all conspired to seal Stancil's fate.

And we shouldn't forget the chairs. He should never have messed with the chairs.

The ouster of Roger Stancil has largely gone untold. Mayor Tony Chavonne, council members and Stancil himself have had little to say publicly, standing by denials of confidence lost and face-saving talk of voluntary retirement.

But piece together the “you-ought-to-know” whispers, public chest-thumping and tense meeting confrontations, and a clearer picture of the path to Stancil's departure emerges. "

Sean R. Stegall is the Assistant City Manager and Budget Director for the City of Elgin, IL.
From the CH Webpage
"Sean graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1995. He received his Master's in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University in 1997. He is a 2004 Graduate of the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia. He has also earned recognition by the International City/County Management Association as a Credentialed Manager."

From the Chapel Hill News (with poor formatting BTW)
"Sean has very strong management abilities that particularly revolve around current challenges, like for example instituting technology throughout an organization as a way of enhancing its service," Foy said.

"That's an example. Sean is bright, quick, very high energy. I think people are going to see these personalities for themselves."

I list these two first for a reason. One of these candidates was just fired. He is mired in scandal. Regardless of what Mayor Foy says about this happening in politics, he was just fired and the article from Fayetteville seems to suggest he has some "trust" issues.
My guess is that some council members will be against his nomination for Town Manager.

The other candidate is young, energetic, young, up on new technology, young, high-energy, and young. I would imagine a group of council members being excited by his take on tech and another group being wary of his experience or lack thereof.

With these two candidates, my crystal ball forsees difficulty finding a consensus within the council. Which, brings us to our third candidate. I don't know what to cut and paste here because...well, the town blurb is a love fest:

Frank Ragan's 30-year career in local government has included a vast array of experiences in three different communities in different parts of the country. He started his career in Henderson, NC in Parks and Recreation while finishing his Masters degree out of N. C. State University. He journeyed to Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, where he held the Parks and Recreation Administrator position with the city while simultaneously being appointed to teach at the university, a quite unique opportunity within the profession that managed to entice him to leave the Tar Heel State. While serving with Bloomington, he led a major bond initiative that built and/or renovated twenty-five parks and recreational facilities for the campus community.
...Frank was offered the opportunity of becoming Aurora's Deputy City Manager (DCM) for Operations. Serving in that position for eight years, he was instrumental in coordinating all city-support services for the multi-billion dollar Fitzsimons Redevelopment project. The project, rehabilitating and retooling a closed Army Medical Base, has been transformed into the new homes of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, University Hospital, Children's Hospital, the area's first Bio-Science Research Park, a residential/commercial mixed use area in the core of the site, and other redevelopment partners.

Similar to what is being envisioned for the Carolina North project, Frank was the City's lead in coordinating all planning services, infrastructure support, and environmental remediation activities with the Fitzsimons project.
...He personally directed the planning and development of the new $75 million 290,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Municipal Services Center that consolidated thirteen disjointed city office locations into one super customer-oriented, smart technology building.

What we have here, on paper at least, is a superstar. What better way to insure his getting the position than to pit him against someone mired in controversy and someone with 20 years less experience.

You may now remove your tinfoil hats.

I was disappointed that the pool wasn't larger and, as Robert has out-lined, the apparent choice narrowed.

At one point, I was worried that we'd have one of Cal's lieutenants as the heir apparent and two or three strawdogs to make the selection process seem fair.

I requested the selection criteria (there was supposed to be a list) but have yet to get a copy. I'll re-request this list and publish it so we can start lining up the requirements vs. the selections (maybe Tim or Anita could post the list - they help craft it).

Youth is no impediment to having technology chops - and Sean doesn't appear any less experienced than Cal in a few areas when he was selected.

Let me make something perfectly clear, I am in no way saying that Sean should be discounted because of his age, which is also my age!!!
I'm merely saying that having begun his career after receiving his Master's in 1997, there might be some who would prefer someone with more experience. Maybe not. I certainly don't hold it against him at this point.

We're doomed! (RP you are too funny)

Robert, I know you're a spring chicken - I didn't think you were discounting him on age, just pointing out others might question his experience.

FYI, there will be a series of meet-n-greet and other public hearings to evaluate these candidates.

There seems to be quite a rush to get this over with before Cal is gone - I'm hoping the town has time to weigh in on a decision that has, arguably, more impact on operations than our bi-annual elections.


There is a new OWASA policy pertaining to water & sewer extensions that was enacted since the 2004 meeting. You and your neighbors may be interested in contacting OWASA to update yourselves on it so that you can become fully informed. I don't have time or space here, but - as far as water goes - there is immediate reimbursement for infrastructure costs that will be required as part of the master plan for the system. The sewer side is a bit more complicated.


Re: diversity

Is any of the three candidates gay?


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