During the March 16 meeting of the Onslow County Board of Commissioners, the members of the Board unanimously voted to appoint Sharon S. Russell as Onslow County Manager. Russell is the first woman selected to serve as manager, since the county adopted the county management form of government more than 50 years ago.
Following the evening’s approved agenda, Board of Commissioner Chairman Jack Bright called upon County Attorney, Brett DeSelms to read the North Carolina statute outlining the roles, responsibilities, and obligations required of the County Manager. Calling for the vote, Chairman Bright praised Russell’s work as Interim County Manager and expressed the Board’s confidence in her leadership of the County.
With her family proudly watching as she took the oath of office, Russell was sworn in by District Court Chief Judge Sarah Seaton. Judge Carol Jones held the Bible upon which she swore to serve Onslow County. Upon accepting her appointment, Russell thanked the Board of Commissioners, her family, her management team, and the employees of Onslow County for their continued support.
Russell brings a wealth of experience to the position. Prior to accepting the appointment as County Manager, she served as the Deputy County Manager for more than two years. She attended NCSU on a full academic scholarship and graduated with honors in chemistry. Russell earned her Masters Degree at the top of her class from Radford University in communications, and earned her Juris Doctorate from Campbell Law School magna cum laude, graduating second in her law class. Russell recently attended the UNC School of Government Municipal and County Administration Course and the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia. Prior to becoming a local government manager, Russell worked for the National Association of Counties managing national programs for counties, and worked as Executive General Counsel to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Russell is a licensed attorney, and also has prior experience as a litigation attorney defending counties, cities and businesses in court. Russell is a native North Carolinian, and has lived in eastern North Carolina for the past ten years. As she begins her tenure, Russell has been working with County Departments, agencies, and local organizations to prepare for fiscal year 2020/2021, developing new leadership initiatives, and promoting a culture of partnership, diversity, and inclusion.