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City Manager's Office

Posted on: August 3, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Bill Stuart Dies; Winston-Salem’s Longest-Serving City Manager

City Manager’s Office
Aug. 3, 2019

Bryce A. "Bill" Stuart, who guided Winston-Salem city government for 26 years as its longest-serving city manager, died this morning of complications from pneumonia. He was 79. 

Stuart served as city manager from 1980 to 2006 and shepherded city government through a transformation in Winston-Salem’s economy as corporate mergers consumed the city’s leading businesses, and medicine and financial services supplanted the city’s traditional manufacturing base.

During his tenure city government became more diversified as women and African-Americans took their place in the upper echelons of city administration. Winston-Salem became the second city in the United States to receive a "AAA" rating from all three national rating agencies, a new Public Safety Center and Coliseum were built, a concerted housing program improved long-neglected neighborhoods, and an aggressive economic development program brought new life to downtown. 

Stuart was 41 when he was appointed by what was then the Board of Alderman as Winston-Salem’s fourth city manager since the city adopted the council-manager form of government in 1949. At the time he was an assistant city manager for Charlotte, where he also had served as budget director. Before that he had worked for the city of Phoenix, Ariz. 

Mayor Allen Joines, who served under Stuart as development director, assistant city manager and deputy city manager before retiring and being elected mayor in 2001, said that Winston-Salem profited from the high standards that Stuart set for himself and for the city staff.

"Bill provided extraordinary professional leadership to the city," Joines said. "He guided us through two annexations and difficult budgetary times, and built a very firm foundation for the future of the city."

Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian H. Burke was serving her first term on the Board of Aldermen when the board hired Stuart. "We were very pleased and happy when we hired him. We were all in agreement. He was very, very committed. He said that he could move this city forward."

Tom Fredericks, who served as budget director and later assistant city manager under Stuart, said he was "the ultimate professional city manager." "He knew how to develop his staff, how to give them responsibility and the authority to do their job.

"On the other side of the equation," Fredericks said, "he was skilled at working with the elected officials in addressing their requests and expectations in an efficient and effective way. It shows in the fact that he was ultimately elected as president of the International City/County Management Association.

Pat Swann, who served as public works director under Stuart, said, "Bill really did support you. If he trusted you, he would empower you to do better work than you thought you could do."

City Manager Lee Garrity, who succeeded Stuart, said, "Bill was a leader in our profession and my mentor. I have strived in my career to live up to his high standards."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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