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Cornelius News

Anthony Roberts will be new Huntersville town manager; Grant will replace him

Cornelius Town Manager Anthony Roberts, far right, checking in on Jetton Road construction

May 3. Huntersville is recruiting its new town manager from Cornelius. Anthony Roberts, the veteran town manager of Cornelius, will take a new job heading up the administrative side of the town of roughly 55,000. The population of Cornelius is about 29,000.

Both are growing fast and face similar issues around development, I-77 and the challenging political landscape in Charlotte and Raleigh. Over the course of years, Huntersville has had a more colorful town board than Cornelius.

Andrew Grant, the assistant town manager in Cornelius, is expected to become town manager here, replacing a popular leader he served under for more than a dozen municipal budget cycles.

Drafting and revising the town budget, at the behest of the town board and mayor, is one of the key functions of the town manager. He or she also supervises the staff and works closely with the finance director.

Long-time Cornelius Finance Director Jackie Huffman was recruited to Huntersville last year. She will report once again to Roberts, but starting sometime this spring, in Huntersville.

Huffman is the acting Huntersville town manager, following the resignation ​in January of T​own ​M​anager​ Gerald Downs Vincent. He resigned after being arrested by Huntersville Police after a domestic dispute.

Both Cornelius and Huntersville officials confirmed the employee changes.

Roberts earns about $160,000 managing an annual budget of about $23 million. In Huntersville, Roberts will oversee a $61 million budget. Sources said he would get a substantial raise from Huntersville.

Roberts, who recently moved to Cornelius from Huntersville, will not be required to move to Huntersville. Grant is a Cornelius resident. There are no requirements that town employees live in Cornelius.

His appointment is expected to be voted on Monday night in Huntersville, with the new position starting sometime this spring, He will continue to fine tune the 2018-2019 Cornelius budget which must be approved prior to the start of the new fiscal year July 1.

Grant is expected to step up to the manager’s position sometime this spring as well.

Veteran Commissioner Dave Gilroy says  the town has a “next man or woman up” mindset. “We have superlative professional management across our organization and continuously develop our town and department leadership. As a small town, we fully expect our great professionals to advance their careers with bigger, higher paying jobs elsewhere from time to time. This is exactly as it should be, and fortunately we have the management depth to ensure Cornelius doesn’t miss a beat,” Gilroy says.

New blood should be “re-energizing,” Gilroy says.  “Andrew is extremely well prepared to take the helm. While Anthony is among the best of the best, Andrew has an opportunity to take Cornelius management up another level or two, especially in containing the very high growth in spending in select departments, e.g. police and fire.”