Randolph County hires Archdale’s Holden as next county manager

ASHEBORO – The next county manager for Randolph County will come from a city within the county.

The county’s Board of Commissioners announced the hiring of Archdale city manager Zeb Holden.

He has been in that position in Archdale since 2016 for part of a total of 19 years in local government.

The county commissioners reported that there was a pool of 37 applicants from eight states.

“The board wishes to express its sincere gratitude to Mayor (Lewis) Dorsett and the Archdale City Council for their cooperation and understanding throughout this process,” said Darrell Frye, chairman of the county commissioners. “We also wish to thank former county manager Hal Johnson for his commitment to this county and leaving us in a great position primed for continued success in the hands of our new manager.”

Holden’s selection came based on “a combination of extensive local government experience, leadership ability, and deep community ties,” according to a release from the commissioners.

Frye, who lives in Archdale, said Holden’s existing knowledge and background within the county was an asset during the selection process.

“It brings familiarity that none of the other candidates had,” Frye said.

Holden has a good sense of the cooperation that goes on within the county and much of that won’t have to be learned from scratch, Frye said. He’s also familiar with legislators representing the county.

“Zeb has been very active in the county as a whole for a number of years,” Frye said.

Holden is an Elon University undergraduate with a degree in business administration. He received a graduate degree in geography/city planning from UNC Greensboro.

While there are differences between city government and county government, there should be crossover topics. Holden’s background in addressing water and sewer issues could be beneficial as the county grows, Frye said.

As a member of the Randolph Community College board of trustees, Holden also had a role in the hiring of Shah Ardalan as the school’s latest president.

Holden’s wife, Stacey, is a teacher at Hopewell Elementary School. They have two children.

Holden’s starting date hasn’t been determined.

Johnson retired at the end of 2023 after nine years as county manager and 48 years involved with Randolph County government.

The county manager is appointed and serves at the pleasure of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners. Duties include overseeing county departments, representing the county, recommending an annual budget, and overseeing programs and operations regarding the policies, ordinances, and directives adopted by the board of commissioners.

By Bob Sutton