By Diana Bowley of the News Staff - DEXTER - A man who accomplished much in the seven years he served as town manager tendered his resignation this week. Robert Simpson, 59, is leaving his post in late April to begin a new job May 1 as town manager of Wrightville, N.C.
"It was just an opportunity I could not refuse," Simpson said Tuesday. The move will bring him closer to his three sons and two grandchildren who live in the Carolinas. "I need to get reacquainted with my children."
Simpson, who retired from the Air Force, said it was a tough decision to make because he has lived in Dexter longer than in any other community. He was constantly on the move while he served in the military, he said.
"It's been challenging but fulfilling," Simpson said of his tenure in Dexter. "Dexter is on the right road."
Town Council Chairman Peter Haskell said the search for Simpson's replacement will begin immediately. He said Dexter's loss is Wrightville's gain.
"He's going to be missed," he said of Simpson.
Haskell said Simpson filed a manager's report during his first six months on the job which noted his observations, his findings, recommendations and a plan of action for each problem identified.
"I was amazed after looking all through it just what he had accomplished while he's been here," he said. The list includes such issues as the town's codes, economic development, cemetery funds, the state of town ways, the public campground and emergency and dispatch. "He's corrected all of these."
Wrightville has a year-round population of 2,800 and a seasonal population of up to 40,000, according to Simpson. In comparison, Dexter has a year-round population of 3,890 and a seasonal population of 5,000.
Simpson said money was not the driving force behind his decision. He made $52,000 in Dexter and will make $61,000 to start in his new job.
Leaving with mixed feelings, Simpson said his effectiveness was in part because of the great staff he had and a supportive Town Council.
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