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Town manager leaving Spring Hope

Posted on July 19, 2021

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Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwaltney extends a handshake and well-wishes to Town Manager Jae Kim, who is leaving for a new job in Bald Head Island. The town board accepted Kim’s resignation during a special called meeting July 12.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwaltney extends a handshake and well-wishes to Town Manager Jae Kim, who is leaving for a new job in Bald Head Island. The town board accepted Kim’s resignation during a special called meeting July 12.

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim is leaving after five years for a position in Bald Head Island.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim is leaving after five years for a position in Bald Head Island.

Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwaltney extends a handshake and well-wishes to Town Manager Jae Kim, who is leaving for a new job in Bald Head Island. The town board accepted Kim’s resignation during a special called meeting July 12.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwaltney extends a handshake and well-wishes to Town Manager Jae Kim, who is leaving for a new job in Bald Head Island. The town board accepted Kim’s resignation during a special called meeting July 12.

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim is leaving after five years for a position in Bald Head Island.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim is leaving after five years for a position in Bald Head Island.

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim is leaving after five years for a position in Bald Head Island.
Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwaltney extends a handshake and well-wishes to Town Manager Jae Kim, who is leaving for a new job in Bald Head Island. The town board accepted Kim’s resignation during a special called meeting July 12.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

SPRING HOPE — After five years as town manager, Jae Kim is moving on to a lucrative job in a coastal resort community.

Kim started in Spring Hope at $54,000 and now earns $60,000 a year. He will receive an annual salary of $86,000 as the assistant village manager in Bald Head Island, a small, no-cars-allowed island community in Brunswick County about an hour’s drive and a 20 minute ferry ride from Wilmington.

Kim will have to walk, ride a bike or use a golf cart to get around the resort town, population 230.

Kim said he’s had the public servant bug since high school where he served in the governor’s page program. Taking a break from his education for a few years to help with the family business, Kim entered the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with the intent of attending law school and becoming an attorney like his brother.

“One week before the LSAT, I changed direction,” Kim said. 

He earned a master’s degree in public affairs with a concentration in local government management.

Kim interned at the Council of Government in Greensboro, working on water resource issues. In 2012, he interned in the planning department for the town of Aberdeen in Moore County. The internship developed into a full-time position, and Kim knew then that he wanted to be a town manager.

Prior to coming to Spring Hope, Kim served as a special projects coordinator for the Moore County towns of Robbins and Carthage.

“A planning background helped,” Kim said of landing the Spring Hope town manager job in February 2016.

Municipal administrators are expected to spend at least two years on a job before moving on. The town board asked Kim to stay at least three years when hiring him.

“It’s been more than five years. I feel like I lived up to that,” Kim said.

As announced after a Spring Hope Board of Commissioners closed session on July 12, Kim is set to begin the job in Bald Head Island on Aug. 11.

The assistant village manager for Bald Head Island focuses on beach nourishment and estuarine shoreline projects and maintains data and records on inlet and creek conditions.

“The assistant village manager is responsible for coordinating and developing communications between all stakeholders involved with shoreline management to include the Army Corps of Engineers, the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, the N.C. Ports Authority and other state and federal environmental officials,” according to the job description.

Kim said he will always be grateful to the Spring Hope Board of Commissioners for giving him his first job as a town manager.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Kim said. “Spring Hope will always have a special place in my heart.”

The town board will work with the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments in Wilson in the search for a new manager.

The search will be conducted independent of the board, said Mayor Buddy Gwaltney.

“We all wish the manager well in his new job,” Gwaltney said.

Kim said there are challenges when it comes to working in a small town, but the rewards of making a difference overcome any difficulties.

“There are a lot of great people and resources to tap into here, and I hope the new manager that’s selected will take advantage of it,” Kim said. “I will miss Spring Hope. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the five-plus years I’ve lived and worked here. But I’m also excited about the new opportunity on Bald Head Island.”

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