Employee turnover in local governments is nothing new, but Haywood County’s recent rash of retirements and resignations has resulted in a lingering lack of leadership that hasn’t yet disrupted county operations, but could affect long-term planning if it persists.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing. As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

— Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa)

Several well-known Haywood County employees in high-ranking positions have terminated their own employment over the past few months, leading to wild conjecture that the resignations are unusual, related or nefarious in nature.

Spring can be a scramble at the High Hampton Inn and Country Club in Cashiers. Every year, after a long and quiet winter, the business prepares to reopen its kitchens, its golf greens, its rooms and welcome back the guests as trees leaf out and the cool mountain summer begins. 

• Larger labor pool, longer season make Sylva hiring easier
• Haywood County employers need workers

To meet the challenge, High Hampton’s human resources manager Sydneye Trudics embarks on a rampage of hiring, in a matter of months nearly quadrupling the club’s staff from a cold-weather crew of 50 to a summer peak somewhere north of 180. It’s not an easy task.

With a bigger local labor pool and a tourism season that wraps around most of the year, hiring in Sylva is an easier proposition than it is for Cashiers businesses — at least, that’s how City Lights Café owner Bernadette Peters sees it. 

Although Haywood County shares many economic similarities with Cashiers, it also sees challenges distinct from those of Jackson County.

Since before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was chartered in 1934, Western North Carolina has been a sought-after destination for tourists from across the country and across the world. 

Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland said he’s been trying for years to get commissioners to change the county’s personnel policy to allow him and the register of deeds to accrue personal time off hours like every other county employee.

A blanket freeze on federal hiring is having a local impact as the agencies tasked with managing Western North Carolina’s roughly 1.5 million acres of public land halt the hiring of seasonal employees responsible for keeping the area’s national parks and forests safe, clean and educational for the millions of visitors who seek them out each year. 

A second decision made during last week’s Cherokee Tribal Council meeting could affect how council’s decision to order a third-party investigation into Principal Chief Patrick Lambert’s administration fares on veto. 

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