The Clayton Town Council has selected Rich Cappola to serve as the next town manager. The council voted unanimously to appoint Cappola during their meeting on Sept. 6.
Cappola has served as the interim town manager since May 2021. For the past five years, he has served the town in a variety of roles including the town’s first director of engineering and inspections, director of public services, and as deputy town manager.
“Rich’s experience serving an interim has been overwhelmingly successful. He has successfully accomplished a lot in a short period of time with the support of the town council,” said Town of Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod. “He is honest and trustworthy, smart and strategic, and a highly regarded professional. Without question, Rich was by far the best candidate for the job.”
Earlier this year, the council voted to have the town’s Human Resources Director Kenya Walls conduct the recruitment process for the town manager position. Cappola was one of 34 applicants from several states, including 23 from North Carolina.
An initial screening of each application was conducted for matching qualifications. All applications were sent to the council for further review by a councilmember. Council then selected three candidates to interview. From those three interviews, the top two candidates completed a behavioral assessment that was administered by Catapult, a human resources consulting firm based out of Raleigh. Council reviewed the assessment results of both candidates in making their final selection.
“Selecting a town manager is one of the most important decisions that the council makes for the community,” said Walls. “I was honored to be asked by the mayor to assist with the recruitment process for the town manager position.”
According to Walls, the applicant pool was quite competitive, which meant the mayor and town council were able to consider a number of well-qualified candidates with extensive local government management experience for the town manager position.
“It was not just important for us to find the most qualified person but also a person that will grow as the Town of Clayton continues to grow,” said Town of Clayton Councilmember Michael Sims.
The town manager is appointed by and works under the direction of the mayor and five-member town council. He is responsible for a total budget of $98.7 million and approximately 250 full-time employees.
"Rich is undoubtedly the best person for the job. His unwavering dedication to our citizens, staff and visitors is apparent in everything he does,” said Clayton Mayor Pro Tem Jason Thompson. “He stepped up when we needed him most and has shown that he has the knowledge and ability to lead us through both challenging and triumphant times."
In his role as town manager, Cappola said he will focus on managing growth and streamlining processes involving master planning, design, permitting, and construction. He plans to continue to prioritize the operations and management of the town's services and infrastructure. He also hopes to further cultivate and expand community relationships and partnerships.
“I am looking forward to continuing to serve the Town of Clayton in a permanent role,” said Cappola. “We have a great team here. I know that together we can build from the positive progress we have made during the last year, while providing quality services that our current and future residents expect and deserve.”
Cappola has 20 years of civil engineering, design and land-use planning experience, working in both municipal government and the private sector as a professional engineer (PE). He recently earned a Master of Public Administration degree from NC State, where he also earned a master's degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Clemson University as well.
A Connecticut native, Cappola has lived in the triangle region of North Carolina since 2006. He is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the North Carolina City and County Managers Association (NCCCMA), and the American Public Works Association (APWA).
He and his wife, Lauren, currently reside in Fuquay-Varina, with their three daughters Madelyn, 11, Giuliana, 9, and Eliza, 6.
The Town of Clayton, located in Johnston County, is the fastest growing town, in the fastest growing county in the State of North Carolina per the 2020 census. For information on working for the Town of Clayton, visit ClaytonNC.org/jobs.