Commission picks assistant manager for top spot

Dena Diorio


by BEN THOMPSON / NBC Charlotte

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Posted on December 17, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 11:12 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –Mecklenburg County Commissioners have named Assistant County Manager Dena Diorio as the county’s new county manager.

She is Mecklenburg’s first female manager.

Commissioners reportedly met behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon to discuss Diorio’s hiring before the official vote Tuesday night. She replaces interim manager Bobbie Shields, who’s served since longtime manager Harry Jones was terminated by commissioners in May.

Diorio, 51, joined the county manager’s office in 2007 as county finance director.  According to her biography on the county’s website, she held similar positions in Connecticut and New York City.

The search to find Jones permanent replacement was often contentious, resulting in public spats among commissioners. Commissioners themselves complained the search lacked transparency.

Over the summer, Vice-Chair Kim Ratliff caused a firestorm when she suggested Jones’ replacement shouldn’t be a white male. She later apologized.
"We're just going to move forward. And make the best of what we have.  We're going to go higher.  We're going to work hard, and work with her," said Commissioner Vilma Leake.

"It was a unanimous vote," she added, referring to commission's support of Diorio.

Diorio will take her post Jan. 1. She will oversee more than a dozen departments, 5,000 employees and an annual budget of $1.6 billion.

She’ll earn $228,000 a year, plus $15,000 in deferred income, $6,700 per year in health insurance and a $1,100 monthly expense allowance.