TEGA CAY — If education is the key to unlocking career goals, then Charlie Funderburk is your proof.
The interim city manager for nearly a month, Funderburk, who earned his master’s degree in public administration from Anna Maria College last year, was offered the job outright after a unanimous vote by the city council after a Feb. 19 meeting. He accepted that night.
Funderburk, 37, appointed interim manager Jan. 22 after his predecessor, Dennis Pieper, was hired as Fort Mill’s town manager, has worked for the city since 2001, when he became parks and recreation director. In 2007, he was tapped to fill the city’s newly created operations manager position. Currently a resident of Rock Hill, where he was born and raised, Funderburk plans to relocate with his wife and two young children to Tega Cay.
“Tega Cay, as I have grown to know it the last 12 years, it’s a wonderful community,” Funderburk said.
He said he decided to continue his education with the hope that it would better position him for the city manager’s job if and when it became available.
One of four finalists – Fort Mill Assistant Town Manager Joe Cronin was another – for the position, Funderburk said he expected heavy competition.
“It’s a very desirable place, especially with the population growth we’ve had. I think we’ve grown 86 percent since the last census and I knew it would be something attractive for people looking for those opportunities to be a city manager,” Funderburk said.
“Once Council released the four finalists, Joe Cronin and his background in Fort Mill, obviously he’s a tremendously talented guy and I have a lot of respect for him. Looking at [the other candidates’] resumes, they are all extremely talented individuals and I feel very fortunate to be selected.”
The city, which had a population of 7,014 according to the 2010 census, but now has closer to 8,000 residents, has grown through annexation, including property where a new elementary school is being built. There were fewer than 4,000 residents counted in the 2000 census and the city has doubled its footprint since then. Funderburk said the continued development of two major subdivisions, including the retail/residential Stonecrest community, and ensuring adequate public safety coverage for the growing areas, is his top priority.
“We’ll continue to work with our two developers in Stonecrest and Lake Ridge and with (assisted living facility) Wellmore coming in, as these develop and finish out there will be a need for increased fire department services in those area and I’ll work with council to see how we can facilitate that,” Funderburk said.
“We definitely have a lot going on, but we’ll take it one day at a time, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.”
Council voted 5-0 to offer Funderburk the job. Councilman Stephen Perkins was out of town and missed the vote, but Councilwoman Dottie Hersey read a letter from Perkins endorsing Funderburk for city manager. Other Council members expressed their support the day after the meeting.
“With the background I have, one thing you do before leaving a sales meeting is ‘ask for the order.’ Charlie had a strong interview and explained to us why he would be a good city manager and in my mind Charlie asked for the order,” Mayor George Sheppard said.
“They were all very strong candidates,” Sheppard said. “We’ve had a guy in Charlie Funderburk who has committed himself to the city for 12 years and has been a member of the city staff for 12 years and I think one of the stronger things he said in the interview was the day he went to work for Tega Cay 12 years, he went home and told his wife, ‘I think I can retire from this place.’”
Councilman Ron Kirby, who wasn’t in office when the city’s last two managers were hired, said “the process was great. We met a lot of great people, but having Charlie interview with us was awesome. When he had the list down to 15, then to 12, Charlie kept popping to the top of the chart. He met all the criteria to begin with, but we had to keep an open mind and do our due diligence, but he kept coming to the top and I don’t think there’s any question in my mind at all that we made the right decision.”
The terms of Funderburk’s contract call for a three-year deal with an annual salary of $90,000, a city-owned vehicle – which he already has – and $5,000 for relocation expenses.
The other two finalists were Andy Blondeau, assistant city administrator of the City of Clemson and City of Goose Creek assistant city administrator Jeff Molinari.
Click here to read more about the four finalists considered for Tega Cay City Manager: http://www.fortmilltimes.com/2013/02/18/2503926/finalists-for-tega-cay-city-manager.html