By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
Curry County commissioners stayed in-house and hired Lance Pyle as the county manager Tuesday during an executive session.
Pyle has served as the interim county manager since Dick Smith resigned in October.
Pyle, 27, will earn about $87,500 a year, according to county officials.
“We decided rather than go out, we were quite pleased with what Lance had done during his interim time,” County Commission Chairman Albin Smith said. “And with our past experience, we believe that we would probably come to the same conclusion, and we decided to offer Lance the position right now.”
Smith said commissioners voted unanimously to offer Pyle a one year contract, which is retroactive to Dec. 1.
“I would like to continue moving the county forward,” he said. “Curry County has some of the best employees and I look forward to working with the County Commission, the other elected officials and county staff.”
Commissioner Robert Sandoval said Pyle has shown he is more than capable of doing the job.
“I’m excited about bringing Lance on board as county manager. I think his vast knowledge and experience coupled with his professionalism will make him a great asset to the county,” Sandoval said.
Pyle also is mayor of Melrose. While there are no stipulations against holding the county manager and mayor positions at the same time, Pyle said he will decide by next month whether he will keep his seat.
“With the county manager (position) comes added responsibilities and duties,” he said. “I will be tied up with that position quite a bit.”
Pyle started working with the county in 1998 while in high school and continued working for the county throughout his college years. He performed a variety of roles in county administration under former county manager Geneva Cooper. He worked as assistant county manager under Smith.
Smith said Pyle’s experience working under previous county managers made him a good candidate for the position.
“I think he learned a great deal from both our former (and) previous county managers, and I think he’s taken what he learned from both them and then plus his own personality, and right now I don’t think we can be more pleased with what he’s done,” he said.
Smith said the commission is not looking for an assistant county manager at the moment.