Town Manager Stegall?

I’m impressed with what I’ve read by and about Sean Stegall.

With Sean we have a candidate for town manager that celebrates openness, wants to make community a cornerstone of his efforts and recognizes Chapel Hill’s need for some “conflict resolution”.

He has a flexible management-style – a trust in the folk working at all levels in our government and within the community.

But, as the town manager, the work of leadership is more about tapping into and leveraging the collective energies of those who work for the community, are served by the community and who are elected to govern.

The manager must create a sense of purpose that connects people together and drives the organization to a higher level of performance. This is best accomplished by assimilation of the collective “visions” held within the organization and community.


As a person that can pinch the meanest of pennies – I heartily welcome a candidate thoroughly experienced in budgetary matters.

Sean is responsible for the preparation, execution and monitoring of a budget of $277,000,000. In addition, Sean is charged with development of the five (5) year financial plans for the City’s major operating funds.


We could definitely use more than a spritz of entreprenurial spirit

If an organization is not constantly looking to improve its processes and procedures, it is falling behind.

– and the background and desire to use technology to drive operational efficiencies.

Stegall also is developing a wireless Internet program for Elgin residents, something that interests many Chapel Hill leaders as well.

Already, Elgin employees are using a Motorola system to communicate with each other, filing reports from the field, etc.

Wireless transmitters are on all city water towers.

“Being familiar with technology that may be one of the benefits of being 33,” Stegall said. “Technology is not an end in and of itself. It should be used for other ends.”


And he understands that the relationship between manager and Council is nuanced

The old saying goes, “Council makes policy, staff implements policy.” But policy making and policy implementation are not separate and distinct functions. In reality, policy making/implementation is a continuum of thought and relationships that transform ideas, policies, goals and plans into observable outcomes or ends such as a new street project, homeless shelter or park improvement. Because of this fact, council and staff share this continuum and are partners ensuring each other’s success. Because of this partnership, there must be open and on-going dialogue among the town council and department heads. Finally, this dialogue must include all community partners whether it is media outlets or neighborhood associations.

The Chapel Hill town manager must create a sense of purpose through a shared vision and open dialogue by and between the council, staff and community.


Yes, he’s young. So what? We need a candidate with vitality and a fresh perspective to help our community make the next step in its evolution. Sean’s capabilities and diversity of experience are more than comparable to our current manager’s when he was selected.

Though I’m not a big fan of his take on TIFs (tax increment financing)  or the joy of gambling profits, I liked his current perspective on town and hope his responses are more than “window dressing”.

Good luck Sean on your interview. Remember, Chapel Hill, for all its age, is still a youthful community – expect a fair hearing.



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