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When Shaw was asked what the board was going to do about the vacancy created by Fox leaving on Jan. 31, Shaw said that was a good question.
"We have a lot of serious thinking to do," Shaw said.
Budget Director Michael Halford is one department head whose name keeps popping up as a potential interim manager. Halford may have applied for the manager's job, but, if he did, he isn't saying.
Halford said he didn't wish to comment on any matter related to the county manager search or the decision about an interim manager, but he was willing to talk about the fact that the county is quickly coming into the height of budget season.
He said that having so many directors positions vacant won't make the task of putting the 2013-2014 budget together any easier.
"It obviously increases the level of uncertainty," Halford said.
When Fuller was asked this week if she would serve as the interim manager for the month of February – after Fox leaves and before Fuller's retirement – Fuller said she would be willing to do so if asked.
"I will do whatever the board desires," she said in her usual reserved and diplomatic manner.
Fuller said that retirement had been on her mind for a while and she said she's looking forward to the free time it will afford her.
"I have been considering leaving for well over a year," Fuller wrote in an email. "As I have shared with you before, it has been over five years since I had a vacation. My leaving could potentially afford perhaps two people job opportunities. My position has not been a 40-hour a week job. On average, I work 75 to 90 hours per week. I work at the office then go home and continue working."
Fuller stated that, after she leaves county government at the end of February, she wants to take some time off and then move on to new things.
"I would like to take a short break and then pursue some other interests," Fuller wrote. "Of course, I will be happy to help the county out any way I can."
Fuller's letter of resignation was submitted to Fox on Thursday, Jan. 3. In the letter, Fuller expressed gratitude to her coworkers and gave some insight into her decision to retire.
"The HR staff, other County staff and the customers we serve have been a central part of my life," she wrote. "I have so enjoyed working with each and every one of them. It is with much thought and deliberation that I have made this decision. After discussing this with my family, considering my personal goals and my continuing journey as an individual, I believe that I have made the right decision. I have given Guilford County
my best over the years and I am proud of my accomplishments; however, it is time for me to retire."
Fox can now put Fuller's letter of resignation in the pile of resignation letters that has been growing recently.
The new county commissioners are getting a baptism by fire with the immense turnover in Guilford County
"They're dropping like flies," said Republican Commissioner Alan Branson, who was just sworn in last month.
Branson said he suspects that the arrival of a new Board of Commissioners – which he said will provide stricter oversight of county operations – likely had something to do with the timing of the announcements.
Branson said that, when former Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston had firm control of the board, county staff had "free reign." However, Branson said, there may be a realization among staff that those days of anything goes are now over.
With Fuller's announcement, and the knowledge it would take the commissioners awhile to decide on a new county manager, there were renewed fears this week among county employees that Fox might attempt to extend her stint as manager past Jan. 31.
It's easy to see why county employees are so paranoid about what seems like a surreal scenario: Fox has had many lives when it comes to governing Guilford County
and despite two straight years of one major scandal right after another, the previous Board of Commissioners, as well as the current board, kept Fox as county manager.
There has been a lot of bad blood between Halford and Fox over the years and some county employees said they thought Fox might work against Halford getting the interim county manager job because of that.
"If Brenda sabotages all the viable options then they'll have to ask her to stay," one county employee said.
One high-ranking county official who asked not to be identified said there was some speculation that Fox might back Finance Director Reid Baker as interim manager since Baker worked under Fox for years when she was the county's finance director. However, other than that, Baker's name hasn't come up in talks as a potential interim manager.
Shaw said the Board of Commissioners would establish a committee this month to oversee the search for a new manager.