City Council names Debra D. Campbell Asheville City Manager

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After a competitive nationwide search, Mayor Esther Manheimer and City Council are pleased to announce that they have named Debra D. Campbell as Asheville’s next City Manager.


At its Oct. 17 meeting, City Council voted unanimously to name Campbell to the top job.


Moment of the vote and remarks afterward

Campbell comes to Asheville from the City of Charlotte, where she has been employed in many strategic roles since 1988, including her most recent position as Assistant City Manager, starting in 2014. Prior to joining the Charlotte City Manager’s office Campbell served as the city’s Planning Director from 2004-2014, a time of booming redevelopment for the Queen City.


“The City of Asheville is excited to welcome Debra Campbell as Asheville’s next City Manager,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer. “Debra has tackled many of the challenges Asheville now faces. Her depth and breadth of experience makes her extremely qualified to take the helm of our — and now her — City.”


Campbell’s list of accomplishments and strategic initiatives during her tenure as Charlotte’s Assistant City Manager include supporting the development of the Housing Charlotte Framework, a 10-year strategy for community collaboration to increase the supply of affordable housing. She initiated expansion of a public engagement effort in which city employees of all levels were asked to take 10 minutes to engage a person of a different race in a face-to-face conversation about city issues and concerns.


Campbell also led an interdepartmental group to identify and address issues related to safety, trust and accountability, good paying jobs and affordable housing.  And she had a hand in coordination with federal and state officials on the funding and development of a rapid transit system resulting in the construction of 19.3 miles of light rail and millions of square feet of transit oriented development being built at the various transit stations in Charlotte.


Campbell said she would like to commend Mayor Manheimer, Asheville City Council, the community partners who participated, City staff and the search firm for the inclusive and thorough process that was done to recruit for this coveted position.

“I am truly blessed, honored and excited to have been selected amongst an extremely qualified pool of applicants to be the next City Manager of Asheville,” she said. “I have visited this city on numerous occasions and marveled not only at its natural beauty but also at the spirit of community activism that is exhibited uniquely by people in Asheville.”


“As your next City Manager, I promise to work tirelessly and collaboratively with elected officials, staff and every sector of this community to build on the positive momentum underway in this great city, and to address issues related to public safety and trust, social and economic disparity, and environmental stewardship,” Campbell added.  


Campbell has a bachelor of science degree in urban planning from Middle Tennessee State University, where she also earned her master’s degree in public administration. She is a member of the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. In 2007, she was named Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine.


Campbell will begin in her position as Asheville’s next City Manager December 3, 2018.


Please join us in welcoming Debra Campbell to her new role at the City of Asheville and to the larger community!