City Manager Lee Garrity to retire June 23

Lee Garrity

City Manager Lee Garrity to retire June 23
January 11
18:53 2023

City Manager Lee Garrity has informed Mayor Allen Joines and the City Council that he is retiring effective June 23. At his retirement, Garrity, 61, will have served the citizens of Winston-Salem for more than 32 years, including almost 17 years as city manager.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Winston-Salem for these many years,” Garrity said, “but it is time to move on. I am looking forward to having more time to spend with my family and my grandchild.”

Joines said that the city will hire an executive search firm to assist the City with hiring Garrity’s successor.

 “Lee Garrity is a true public servant and has played a key role in Winston-Salem city government for 32 years,” Joines said, “including almost 17 years as city manager. He provided steady, innovative leadership to this community and guided this complex organization through many difficult challenges, including the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and implementation of the 2014 and 2018 bond projects. He also was responsible for filling numerous senior level staff positions with quality personnel and took steps to ensure our employees are adequately compensated.  

“Lee consistently sought new and innovative ways to deliver city services while being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Through his leadership the city maintained the strong financial position that enabled Winston-Salem to keep a triple A bond rating by all three major credit rating agencies. Lee is well respected by his peers across the state and I will miss him greatly. I wish him a very restful retirement. He has earned it.”

Garrity was serving as assistant city manager when the council appointed him in 2006 to succeed Bill Stuart as the city’s fifth city manager since Winston-Salem adopted the council-manager form of government in 1948.

Garrity joined the city in December 1990 as a budget analyst, having served previously on the staff of the Federal Election Commission and before that, on the staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He was named director of what was then known as the Office of Organization Effectiveness in April 1998 and was promoted to assistant city manager in June 2001.

As city manager, Garrity reorganized city government to better serve the needs of citizens in the 21st century. One of his first initiatives was to establish in 2007 the City Link citizen-service call center.

He also hired community assistance liaisons for every ward, to assist citizens who needed to do business with the city; he created the Office of Sustainability to focus on ways to make city operations more environmentally friendly; and he established the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (now part of Human Relations/Diversity, Equity & Inclusion).

Garrity also reorganized city departments to streamline the organizational structure and make city operations more efficient. This included combining the City-County Inspections Division and the City-County Planning Department into a new Department of Planning and Development Services; combining Streets and Stormwater into a new Field Operations Department; consolidating Property Maintenance and Fleet Maintenance into Property and Facilities Management; and combining the Minority/Women’s Business Enterprises staff and the Small Business Assistance staff into the Office of Business Inclusion and Advancement.

Joines said that the City Council will solicit proposals for an executive search firm with a goal of having a firm in place by the end of February. Ideally, Joines said, he and the city council would have a new city manager selected by the middle of June, to assure an orderly transition of leadership.

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