JACKSONVILLE, N.C (WNCT) — The City of Jacksonville has announced the hiring of its new city manager to replace Dr. Richard Woodruff, who retired in May.

The Jacksonville City Council voted to hire Josh W Ray, ICMA-CM, as their new city manager at their regular council meeting on Tuesday. Ray is a 20-year veteran of public service. Woodruff had been city manager for 11 years and has been a fixture involving the city government.

He holds a master’s degree in public affairs from Western Carolina University, where he graduated at the top of his class in 2003. Ray also earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ray has served as city manager in other communities since earning his master’s degree, most recently in Shelbyville, Tenn., Lago Vista, Texas as well as Aztec, NM. He is well-versed in moving projects and initiatives to completion and has overseen substantial budgets and capital projects for others.

He is an ICMA credentialed manager of the National Association of Professional City and County Managers.  

“We are happy to have Josh on board, the energy that he will bring, and shared vision for the City,” Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips said. “The City of Jacksonville’s mission is focused on providing the best in economic development opportunities, broadening our community partnerships on and off base and in building on our One City philosophy to encourage inclusion, collaboration, and civility in our community.” 

As city manager, Ray will work to further the goals of city council and oversee the day-to-day operations of the city. The city’s annual budget is close to $100 million with a workforce of over 600 including public safety, public services, recreation & parks, planning, neighborhood improvement services, finance, human resources, transportation, ITS and the city manager’s office. 

Originally from Waynesville, N.C., Ray said he and his family are happy to return to the area.

“My wife Savanah, my three girls and I are excited to move back to our home state and join the Jacksonville Community. Our experiences, passion and energy should compliment the city’s team to help move the vision of the city council and citizens forward in a proactive and positive manner.” 

Ray’s first day as city manager for the City of Jacksonville is scheduled for September 12.