Elgin city manager leaving for new job in North Carolina
Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall, who steered the city on a path of fiscal stability, is leaving to serve as town manager and CEO in Cary, North Carolina.
Stegall, 43, said Thursday he will start the new job Aug. 4. His resignation is effective July 31.
He was appointed Elgin's city manager in 2009 after serving as assistant city manager since 2000. His current salary is about $200,000, and he will be paid $210,000 in Cary, he said.
Stegall came close to leaving Elgin in July 2014, when he was the top candidate among four finalists for the job of city manager in Des Moines, Iowa, but withdrew his name from consideration.
At the time, Stegall said his heart was in Elgin.
"I love Elgin and always will. That has not changed," he said Thursday. "My decision was borne out of desire to work and live in a community which I have admired for many years."
The Cary Town Council conducted a four-month long national search last year and decided to restart the process in December, The News & Observer reported. Cary's longtime Town Manager Ben Shivar retired Sept. 30.
Mayor David Kaptain said Stegall's departure is a loss for the city.
"I was there when he was hired, and one of the things that he really was selected on was his ability to work with the budget and our finances," he said. "He guided us probably through the toughest economic times since the 1930s, and I think the Elgin community needs to thank him for that."
Under Stegall's leadership, Elgin earned a AAA rating, the top rating, from Fitch Ratings in January for the fifth consecutive year. Its rating with Standard & Poor's is AA+, a notch below. He also was the driving force behind the creation of Elgin's 311 integrated communications center.
Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger said she was surprised by the news.
"I'm sad to see him go. I think he has been a very forward-thinking and energetic force in Elgin," she said. "I feel like everyone needs new stimulation, and maybe this an opportunity that would be for his career advancement."
Hiring Stegall is "a major score" for Cary, Councilman John Prigge said.
"Professionally, I am sad. Personally, I am ecstatic for Sean and his family. Many cities know of his track record in Elgin, and that is why he has been in such high demand."
Cary is a well-known success in city management, Stegall said. "They have been an industry leader for quite some time," he said.
Cary had the lowest total crime rate for municipalities its size in the U.S. based upon data published in the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report in 2014, and ranked 6th in 2015 on 24/7 Wall Street's America's 50 Best Places to Live in America, the town's website states.
With an estimated 155,227 population in 2014, Cary is about 70 percent white, 13 percent Asian, and 8 percent each Latino and black, according to U.S. Census data. Elgin, which has about 111,000 residents, is about 44 percent Latino, 43 percent white, 7 percent black and 5 percent Asian, data shows.
"While my office will be in Cary Town Hall, my job will be in the community," he said. "I will be working with citizens with different needs, backgrounds and points of view."