Cotton, 38, was selected from a field of 52 candidates and was the unanimous choice of county commissioners. He has served as interim ccounty manager of Moore County since March and as assistant county manager from August 2004 to March 2006.
Cotton, who will begin working in Haywood County in October, will be paid $110,000.
“I am thankful to Chairman Neal Ensley and the members of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the hard work they put in to help us narrow down the field of candidates,” said Mark Swanger, chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “There was a remarkable degree of consensus on the committee and on the board as to who the top candidates were. We had a very strong pool of applicants from about 17 states.”
In his previous positions, Cotton has been responsible for a number of accomplishments. These include a $50 million capital improvements program for water and wastewater infrastructure, implementation of an Information Technology Integration Plan; implementation of a Facility Use Plan for a government center; integration and enhancement of a Geographic Information System, an overhaul of the personnel pay and classification system; small area planning initiatives; and development of an award-winning health care facility for employees and dependents that has served as a cost containment measure for insurance premiums for county employees.
Moore County government has an operating budget of $100 million with 24 departments and 650 full-time employees. The county has a population of 83,000 and encompasses 700 square miles with 11 municipalities.
Prior to his work in Moore County, Cotton served as manager for the City of Randleman (July 1999 to August 2004) and the Town of Lake Waccamaw (1997-1999). From 1987 to 1994, Cotton served in the U.S. Navy as an Operations Specialist and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver.
Cotton has a Master of Public Administration degree from Appalachian State University. He and his wife, Shannon, have a 4-year-old daughter, Brennan.
Cotton will replace Jack Horton, who was asked by commissioners to resign in January. The divided vote pit Chairman Mark Swanger and commissioners Mary Ann Enloe and Kevin Ensley against Kirk Kirkpatrick and Larry Ammons. Swanger was defeated in the May primary in his bid to regain his seat.