HAMLET — Marchell Adams-David is spreading her wings.
The Hamlet city manager has resigned effective Aug. 22 and accepted a position as one of three assistant city managers in Raleigh, according to officials in the state’s capital city.
David, who was out of town Monday, said by phone that she wanted to thank Hamlet residents and was excited about her future in Raleigh.
“This was a difficult decision because I truly love my staff and my home community,” David said. “I have been blessed with an opportunity to spread my wings professionally and I’m excited about the new challenge.”
David Blount, spokesman for the city of Raleigh public affairs department, said David’s first day on the job will be determined “no later than the end of August.” Her salary, according to Blount, has not been determined.
Edna Cumberland, personnel manager for the city of Hamlet, confirmed David’s resignation Monday afternoon.
Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless, speaking from Wilmington, said he was surprised when he received the resignation letter.
“She sent me a letter this afternoon stating she would be resigning the 22nd of August,” he said.
Bayless described the letter as “a nice little note” and said David had written that she “had enjoyed her time in Hamlet.”
David’s past two years in office were rife with controversy. In 2013, just prior to the election of new city council members, the sitting council presented David with a contract — something the city of Hamlet has never done before — in a move that left some people in doubt of the council’s motives.
David also fired a popular police chief, John Haywood, amid a State Bureau of Investigation probe into the department’s handling of funds collected from selling seized vehicles to scrap yards.
David appears to have at least as many supporters as naysayers in Hamlet. For more than 20 years, she has worked to improve Hamlet’s historic downtown district and was involved with the Hamlet train depot restoration.
Councilman Pat Preslar said David was persecuted for doing her job and standing by her convictions.
“She’s created a team and managed to get a real team effort out of them,” he said. “She had this job down pat. I can’t say I blame her (for moving to Raleigh) with the loss of her husband and all the allegations. It’s a loss to the city of Hamlet but a win for her and her family after all she’s been through the past several years. It’s bittersweet and I’m happy for her, but now what are we going to do?”
“I hate to see her leave,” Bayless said, adding he had worked with David both as a councilman and as the mayor.
David, who will be Raleigh’s new assistant manager for community, was chosen as one of three assistants from a field of 254 applicants, according to a news release.
“These senior leadership positions with the city of Raleigh garnered intense interest from the best and brightest of municipal management throughout the nation,” said Ruffin Hall, Raleigh city manager. “We had the best from which to choose and we’re delighted these three professionals have agreed to join our team.”
Several councilmen expressed their well-wishes for David’s new venture.
“If that was her choice, there would be nothing we could do except to accept her resignation,” said Councilman Eddie Martin. “I wish her the best in whatever her future endeavors will be.”
Preslar, a strong supporter of David, said losing her brings the possibility that unresolved issues from the past might never reach a conclusion.
“There are a lot of uncertainties and I’m a little bit worried with current issues that we have that need to be resolved — not just go away,” he said. “I’m a little worried about whether we will move forward with our plan to possibly bring in an outside investigator to resolve the matters that caused controversy with the seized cars and the police department. That needs to be not swept under the rug. Everybody needs closure, and the city needs healing and we have to get past this.”
Bayless said that “sometime in the near future,” the city will begin advertising for applicants to fill the vacancy.
Contact reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and Melonie Flomer at 910-817-2673.