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Wake County Names First African American County Manager


Raleigh, NC — The Wake County Board of Commissioners announced Monday (Feb. 12) that it has named David Ellis, who has been serving as interim county manager, to the top post, where he will become the first African American to serve in that role.

Ellis takes over the position after former County Manager Jim Hartmann stepped down from the post four months ago. In his new role as county manager, Ellis will oversee a $1.26 billion annual budget that serves Wake’s 1 million residents.Ellis, 50, is stepping into the job as county and school leaders are starting to talk about the next budget cycle.

“I’m proud of the work that the Board of Commissioners, staff and I have accomplished together during my tenure here,” Hartmann said in a statement last year while announcing the decision.

Before announcing the pick, the commissioners had whittled down the list to three finalists, including Ellis.

  • Barry Burton, who has worked as the county administrator for Lake County, Ill., since 2002.
  • Bonnie Hammersley, who has worked as the Orange County manager since 2014.

The county manager is tasked with drafting Wake’s $1.26 billion budget, managing county departments, making recommendations to county commissioners and representing the county during community events.

Before coming to Raleigh, Ellis had served as an assistant city manager in Charlottesville, Va.

According to his biography, he has worked in local government for at least 20 years. In his role as deputy manager, Ellis managed community services.

During his remarks, Ellis said he was pleased to serve the community and looked forward to following in the footsteps of previous Wake county managers.


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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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