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City manager resigns abruptly

Mount Airy’s city manager has resigned unexpectedly.

Stan Farmer announced his departure this morning from the post he has held for about 18 months, through a press release delivered from his office to The Mount Airy News.

“I have tendered my resignation as city manager, and Mayor (Jon) Cawley has accepted in on behalf of the Board of Commissioners,” it states.

“This resignation is effective immediately.”

Darren Lewis has been appointed as interim manager. Lewis has served as assistant city manager since February 2022 and also is a former city parks and recreation director. The manager’s job involves overseeing the day-to-day operations of city government departments.

Farmer’s resignation seems to be linked to an unannounced closed session held at the end of commissioners meeting Thursday night. Mayor Cawley had announced at the start of the meeting that the closed session would be a late addition to the agenda, in order to discuss a personnel issue.

Shortly after the council convened into that session, Farmer was seen driving away from the Municipal Building. That was noteworthy since the city manager normally takes part in all closed-door discussions for their duration.

However, today’s resignation announcement includes a passage from the mayor indicating that no particular problems triggered Farmer’s resignation.

“He is departing on good terms with the city,” according to Cawley.

Farmer reflected a positive tone in his announcement Friday morning.

“I feel that my tenure here has been productive, and together we have accomplished many good things for this community,” stated the outgoing city official. He had come to Mount Airy from a similar position in Texas after the retirement of longtime City Manager Barbara Jones.

“I am proud of what our city team and community leaders have been able to achieve over my time here,” Farmer’s statement added. “I will help ensure a smooth transition so that the team is on good footing for the future. Mount Airy is a special place, and I wish you all the best.”

Mayor Cawley also praised Farmer for his work here.

“We thank Mr. Farmer for his service to Mount Airy and wish him well in his future endeavors,” he says in the announcement, in which the mayor expressed confidence in Lewis. He also filled in after the retirement of Jones in late 2021.

“Darren Lewis previously served as interim manager, and he has the full confidence of the mayor and the commissioners,” Cawley commented.



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