PRESS RELEASE – Town Manager Leamon Brice announces that he will retire as town manager of the Town of Davidson by December 31, 2015. He has served our town for over 24 years. “Leaving this role is bittersweet,” he said. “Knowing that I have been part of the team to help grow Davidson into a town that makes so many people happy is really gratifying.”
Leamon Brice became the town administrator for the Town of Davidson in April 1990, and town manager in 1991. After receiving an M.A. in political science from Appalachian State University in 1981, he served as assistant city manager of Plymouth, N.C. and town manager of Fairmont, N.C., his hometown.
“I have worked with Leamon for over 20 years and will be sad to see him go,” said Mayor John Woods. “I want to assure the citizens of Davidson that the board of commissioners and I have a recruiting plan that will ensure a smooth transition.”
The mayor and board of commissioners have selected a recruiter, Waters & Company Executive Recruitment/A Springsted Company, and are ready to begin the search for his replacement. The proposed plan is to hire someone in September with a start date in October, retaining Brice until the end of the calendar year to answer questions, share history on projects, and make introductions to regional and community leaders in an effort to seamlessly pass the torch.
Since 1993, Brice has spearheaded Davidson’s smart growth policies. In 2001, under his leadership, the town adopted a planning (zoning) ordinance, instituting the first affordable housing (inclusionary zoning) ordinance in North Carolina. The planning ordinance required that every new neighborhood include a mix of uses and housing types with sidewalks, connected streets, greenways, and open space. It demanded well-designed, minimum two-story commercial buildings to protect the historic character of the town. It also preserved 600 acres of contiguous, publicly owned open space – a legacy for future Davidson citizens.
In his more than 24 years as town manager, Brice has maintained a balancing act on many fronts: innovatively managing explosive growth while maintaining small-town values, forging Davidson’s own path while leading the way towards regional co-operation, guiding a diverse staff while effectively working with an elected board that can change every two years.
During Brice’s tenure, the Town of Davidson has remained intact: our downtown is lively and viable; our streets and public spaces are alive with pedestrians, cyclists, and public art; and our residents, now numbering over 12,000, know each other, many by name. We have retained our small-town feel amidst economic development pressures we see every day in our region.
“There is a leadership style that combines achievement, power and affiliation,” says former Davidson Mayor Randall Kincaid. “Leaders fail without balance. Leamon Brice succeeds because he knows how to balance. He has a high sense of achievement, a modest need for affiliation and he understands power and uses it judiciously.”
Brice has been instrumental in creating and serving on the Lake Norman Transit Commission, a regional transit management group, and the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation, a co-operative economic development organization. He serves on the MI-Connection Board of Directors, Metropolitan Transit Commission, and the Mecklenburg County Livable Communities Committee.
Internally, he has led the way for Davidson employees to utilize learning organization techniques for better communication. All employees of the town, regardless of position, are trained in facilitative leadership, a constructive and collaborative method of discussion used to jointly design solutions to challenges and ask tough questions in a non-judgmental manner.
The success of Brice’s leadership efforts is apparent throughout Davidson in the physical, social, cultural, and economic health of the town. The citizen survey affirms that citizens are supportive of his work: town departments consistently rate in the upper 90th percentile, and Davidson’s “sense of community” was ranked #1 in the nation in 2007 and 2012 by the National Research Center. The town’s achievements were recognized nationally when the town received the EPA’s National Award for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth in 2004.
Brice is active in the North Carolina City Managers Association and International City/County Managers Association, and many years ago, participated in the inaugural Public Executive Leadership Academy and the Municipal Administration Course, both through the School of Government at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
He and his wife, Renee, an education and curriculum consultant, have two grown children and one grandchild.
Please click this link for a video message from Brice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2pN7482jpE&feature=youtu.be