After an unanimous request by the Anson County Board of Commissioners in closed session Tuesday night, Lawrence Gatewood has agreed to remain county manager. In July, Gatewood announced that he would resign at the end of 2013.
When asked why he decided to stay on as county manager, Gatewood replied, “Because they asked me to.”
Although that’s the simple answer, Gatewood said he loves his work and there were several ongoing projects he wants to see through to the end. “Over the past few years, we’ve accomplished a great deal and there are a couple of projects I want to see through,” he explained. “At the top of the list is an animal shelter and an agri-civic center.”
Gatewood added that the county is close to finalizing the purchase of property for a new agri-civic center and as of Wednesday, a deal to purchase property for a new animal shelter was also imminent.
Working with the current county commissioners is another reason Gatewood decided to stay. “The commissioners have never said no,” he said. “They’ve said, ‘not yet’ or ‘not right now,’ but never no. And I do think working together, we will number one, get an agri-civic center; number two, open an active animal shelter; number three, decide on the disposition of the old hospital buildings; and four, the DSS building is almost on the verge of being embarrassing, so I’d like to see a new facility for it, as well.”
In fact, Gatewood said he ultimately envisions one large facility not only for the Department of Social Services, but for the Health Department and senior services. “I don’t think it would cost that much money,” he said. “So how will we fund this? Very carefully, and it won’t happen overnight.”
Gatewood said he was concerned for those very qualified candidates who were close to being hired as the new county manager. “I have reached out to those folks, and I want to continue to work together on common goals,” he said.
Gatewood has been county manager since 2010, and under his leadership, renovation projects have been completed at the Anson County Courthouse, Hampton B. Allen Library, Parks and Recreation building, and the Belk Building. He’s also led the effort to construct a new Emergency Services Center and agri-civic center, and has worked with Carolinas Healthcare System on the new hospital facility.