County hires new EMS director, finance officer

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County has ended its search for a new director of Emergency Services, hiring interim Director Bob Smith, and has named a successor to Finance Officer R.M. “Mac” Steagall who is retiring.

Smith, a lifelong resident of Richmond County from Cordova, served as head of EMS in the interim following Donna Wright’s retirement in September 2020. He has been a part of the county’s 9-1-1 services since January 2005 when he started as a night shift telecommunicator. Smith was promoted to addressing assistant in 2009 and in 2011 he was named deputy director, a position he kept until he stepped in as director last summer.

“His past and present service to Richmond County made the promotion to full Director a clear choice,” County Manager Bryan Land said in a statement. “We are pleased to have another homegrown talent remain in service to Richmond County to fill such a critical role in this community.”

In addition to his work for the county, Smith has been volunteering with Cordova Fire and Rescue for the last 26 years and now serves as assistant chief.

“I am proud and excited to continue my professional growth as Emergency Services Director with Richmond County Government,” Smith said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the dedicated and supportive staff of our Emergency Services Department, and with all County Departments whose partnership contributes to our success. I would also like to thank everyone in the public safety field for their support of me as I take on this new role. I feel that we have all grown together through the years and I look forward to growing our partnerships in years to come.”

Steagall is set to retire on June 30, 2021 after 17 years as the county’s finance officer. In his place, the county brings in William “Cary” Garner, Jr. Garner will continue his work as Anson County’s finance director until March 13 when he will begin his transition to the role in Richmond County. This will allow him three months of overlap working alongside Steagall to build rapport with staff and participate in the planning for the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget, according to a press release.

Garner, who has lived in Hamlet his whole life, graduated from UNC Charlotte’s Belk School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in finance and a minor in economics in 1992. He is currently the finance director for Anson County. Garner is a certified NC Local Government Finance Officer through the UNC School of Government, a member of the NC Finance Officers Association since 2017, a member of the NC Capital Management Trust Advisory Board since 2016 and a member of the North Carolina Local Government Investment Association since 2019.

Land said the county is “fortunate” to add someone of Garner’s caliber to its staff.

“I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead,” Land said. “The Finance Director is one of the most important positions within our organization and we welcome the contributions of Mr. Garner. Furthermore, I am always pleased when we can add one of our own homegrown talents to our organization.”

Of Steagall, Land said he is “one of the many examples of the success we have when we select from the talent available right here in our own community.”

To support the Richmond County Daily Journal, subscribe at

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]