Friday, December 2, 2022

New Hanover County attorney to retire

Wanda Copley, county attorney, will retire next year. (Courtesy/NHC)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — After nearly 40 years of service, county attorney Wanda Copley announced she plans to retire June 30, 2023.

Copley joined the county in 1984 as an assistant county attorney before becoming county attorney in 1992. Her time with New Hanover includes work on major projects and initiatives such as the county’s purchase of Airlie Gardens to preserve it as a historical location.

She was also instrumental in providing the county guidance through hurricanes and major crises in the community, including drafting executive orders and laws during the pandemic.

Board of commissioners chair Julia Olson-Boseman referred to Copley’s leadership as “steady and consistent.”

“This board and many boards before us have trusted her guidance and relied on her for advice, and she has always had the best interest of the people we serve at the forefront,” Boseman said in a press release.

In her role, Copley also served as the attorney for the ABC Board and Wilmington International Airport Authority. Airport Authority chair Spruill Thompson said Copley’s been “a wonderful asset to the county,” and ABC Board chair Bruce Shell called her a “true professional who served with integrity and focus.”

“Wanda’s commitment to her work and to New Hanover County is unmatched,” County Manager Chris Coudriet said in a release. “She has provided sound counsel and advice and built a reputation of true respect and admiration with her colleagues and everyone in the community.”

Copley has decided to take time for herself and her family.

“Her historical knowledge, deep understanding of federal, state and local law requirements, and passion can never be replaced,” Coudriet said in the release.

The county will begin a search for Copley’s replacement in the coming months.

“I plan to continue being involved in the community and will support the county in whatever way I can,” Copley said in the release. “I have been blessed to get to know so many people throughout the years who are dedicating their lives to make this county better, and it’s been an honor to serve alongside them. I appreciate the board’s continue confidence, and I know I will be leaving the county in very capable hands with the team we have built.”

She said she’s proud of her time spent with the county and called it a “true pleasure” to serve for 38 years.

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