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News Sylva chooses youngest ever town manager

Paige RobersonPaige Roberson to assume the position July 1.

Sylva’s Town Board named twentyfive year old Jackson County native Paige Roberson as the new town manager last Thursday.

Roberson, who currently serves as Sylva's Main Street Economic Development director and director for the Downtown Sylva Association (DSA), became an assistant to interim Town Manager Mike Morgan in April. Her first official day in her new position will be July 1.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled to be hired as the new town manager,” said Roberson. “I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the town that I grew up in and love so much.” Roberson will replace Morgan, who was hired after forced resignation of previous Town Manager Adrienne Isenhower, last September.

Roberson’s responsibilities as Main Street Economic Development director as well as the director of the DSA, will be absorbed by her new position as town manager.

Roberson, a third-generation Sylva native, whose family owned and operated Sylva’s former Roberson Supply is personally invested in the economic development of the town and values the importance of continuing the tradition of engaging the community, historic preservation, and downtown revitalization.

“A lot of the goals I have already established with the DSA and as the Main Street director will carry over. I want to continue focusing on small business development and economic restructuring in order to help progress Sylva,” said Roberson. “ I want to focus on planning for the future of the town as well as concentrating on historical preservation.”

Roberson, who grew up in Sylva and graduated from Smoky Mountain High School in 2005, received her bachelor’s in economics from North Carolina State University, graduating cum laude in 2009. While in Raleigh, she held a legislative internship at the N.C. House of Representatives. She attributes much of the love and dedication she has for North Carolina to the position she had as a legislative intern for Rep. Phil Haire’s office.

“My three years experience working in Rep. Phil Haire's office instilled a love of North Carolina state government, public service, and community development,” she said. “While working for Rep. Haire I often worked with local media and developed a strong working relationship with local and state agencies.”

After graduating from North Carolina State University, Roberson attended Western Carolina University, and graduated last May with a 4.0 GPA and Master of Public Affairs degree.

Roberson’s educational accomplishments are matched with a resumé of experience that will benefit her in her new position. Roberson has served as an intern for the Jackson County Planning Department, where she worked with the county planner providing administrative assistance on the Community Development Block Grants and other housing programs. “The housing grants emphasize the importance of community vision and preservation. Grant administration requires strict compliance through record keeping and accurate accounting principles,” said Roberson.

During her last semester as a graduate student at Western, Roberson worked to establish a community development plan for Cashiers. “The comprehensive plan stressed the importance of strategic planning for future development,” said Roberson, explaining the importance of her past experience.

At 25, Roberson has the prestige of being the youngest person ever to be named town manager, which she believes serves as her greatest challenge. “I believe that my age and not having direct experience as town manager will be the greatest challenge I encounter,” said Roberson. “The Town Hall staff has already been so supportive and with their help and my motivation to learn and work for the people of Sylva, I believe that I will be able to be successful.”

Roberson plans to undergo training for government management for county and city administrators in Chapel Hill in September. She will attend the course once a week for eight months and plans to bring back what she learns to better serve the citizens of Sylva.


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