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Elizabeth Sechrist

Meet Randleman’s unique city management team

RANDLEMAN — The City of Randleman is taking a novel approach to filling its empty city manager seat.


In October 2023, the board of aldermen asked then deputy police chief Shain Sexton to serve as interim city manager. He is working closely with the city’s financial director, Elizabeth Sechrist.


Sexton was promoted to the position of Randleman police chief on Jan. 1 to replace outgoing, retiring Chief Steven Leonard. Leonard’s last day was Dec. 31, 2023. He was recognized as the city’s longest serving police chief when the board of aldermen voted at its January meeting to name the building out of which its officers operate at 101 Hillary St. the Steven B. Leonard Building.


Sexton said he expects to hold both positions in the city for the foreseeable future.


“I know the police department inside and out having served there for 14 years,” he said. 


He added that taking on duties of city manager will be easy because he knows every inch of the town. Sexton said that he plans to work with Sechrist who he said is very well versed in the day-to-day administration of the city.


Sechrist said their work is also made easier by the support of the city’s department heads and the current board of aldermen.


Sechrist has been with Randleman as finance director for just over a year. She has a bachelor's degree in business administration with a specialty in finance and 23 years’ experience in the financial sector.


Sechrist said this type of governance is being tried across North Carolina. Many small cities are struggling to find qualified help to fill city manager positions. A report from the National Conference of State Legislatures said cities and towns are competing with a strong labor market where people today have many more options.


“There are 56 open city manager positions in the state,” Sechrist said. “Nineteen towns have opted to combine the police chief and city manager positions. Five cities are using a combined fire chief and city manager position.”


More change

This is just part of the churn in government positions happening in Randleman.


Sexton replaces outgoing, retiring interim city manager Greg Patton. Patton, who also served as the city’s planning director, retired in December. He replaced former city manager William Johnson who left the position in December 2022 to take a job with Randolph County government. Johnson is now the assistant Randolph County manager for operations.


For now, the city has no plans to replace Patton in the planning department. Sechrist said effective Jan. 1, the board approved a contract with Alliance Code Enforcement, L.L.C. (ACE) to handle code enforcement for the next six months.


“It’s already taken a lot off of our plate here in the city offices,” she said. “Code enforcement is not something we can do. It’s not practical for our staff to go out and investigate these types of complaints.”


In his report to the board, Sexton stated that 8-10 Code Enforcement letters already have been sent out to various citizens, and most of the citizens have already complied.


The city will continue to interview for a replacement in the planning department. Sechrist said three such interviews are planned in February.


Sechrist said all of the recent retirements have resulted in many of the city’s departments being staffed with people in their 40-50s, a similar age range for Sexton and Sechrist. 


“This is the right time for us,” Sexton said. “We can give the city 20 years or possibly longer.”