By Jesse Wood
Dec. 10, 2014. The Town of Beech Mountain has experienced quite a bit of personnel turnover in the past couple of months as the police chief, director of tourism, town planner, tax administrator and head mechanic in the Public Works and Utilities department have all left for a variety of reasons.
“I have been super stable and then all of a sudden it got real unstable. We’ve been very happy with how stable we’ve been since I’ve been here,” Town Manager Randy Feierabend said. “I had this guy going to work for somebody else. This one leaving for medical reasons. Chief goes over to the county. One in Public Works, our head mechanic – if somebody works for the town for 23 years wants to retire, I guess I can’t say no.”
Feierabend added, “But you know you have those times.”
Beech Mountain Welcomes New Police Chief
The Town of Beech Mountain will welcome its new Chief of Police, Shawn Freeman, at a reception on Thursday, Dec. 11, in the Buckeye Recreation Center from 4 to 5 p.m.
Freeman of Connelly Springs served in the Air Force during Operation Desert Shield. He started his career with Morganton Public Safety and was promoted to assistant chief of police for Bald Island. Later, he became assistant chief of public safety for Bald Head Island.
Feierabend said that former Police Chief Jerry Turbyfill resigned at the end of October to work as a detective with the Avery County Sheriff’s Office. The Beech Mountain Town Council agreed in November to surplus Turbyfill’s revolver for $1, so he could take it with him.
Freeman came on board less than three weeks ago.
Director of Tourism and Economic Development Announced
In September, the Beech Mountain Town Council announced Leigh Ann Moody as the new Director of Tourism and Economic Development. But, as Feierabend said, “that particular position didn’t work out.”
On Monday, Kate Gavenus started her first day as the new director. Gavenus comes from the Beech Mountain Chamber, where she was director. In her career, she has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit management, government administration and community service and as a small business owner.
“There are many people here who have a great deal of knowledge and understanding of what our town needs. I am looking forward to working with everyone on Beech Mountain to help bring new opportunities and growth to our community,” Gavenus said in the Buckeye Buzz, a town newsletter.
Other Personnel Changes, Turnover
Feierabend said that town planner James Scott has moved onto work with the Boone-based firm Destination by Design. But before the town can fill Scott’s vacancy, Feierabend said that he is looking to find another tax administrator as Jessica Heaton left because of medical reasons.
Jennifer Broderick, human resources director with town, said that the Beech Mountain Town Council passed a resolution to wish Roger Turbyfill, who worked in the Public Works and Utilities department for more than 20 years, well in his retirement.
Broderick added that the town hopes to fill the tax administrator position sometime in January and then fill the other two positions.
“Nobody is in [those positions] yet, but we are starting to head in that direction,” Broderick said.