Kevin S. Gordon
MFPA, EFO, CFO, CTO, CEMSO, MIFireE
Gaston County Emergency Manager
Fire Chief Emeritus, Waco Fire Department
Retired Deputy Chief, Charlotte Fire Department, and Past President of the NC Firefighters' Association
Dedicated, experienced leader with a proven history of providing strategic direction, operational management, best practices, and service excellence.
"Public Service is a noble calling and we need men and women of character to believe that they can make a difference in their communities, in their states and in their country.”
- George H.W. Bush
Committed to the future of cleveland County
Within North Carolina, all counties use the council-manager form of government. The commissioners hire a professional manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the county government, while the commissioners focus on county policies.
Commissioners are not the sole policymakers in county government, because the sheriff and register of deeds are also elected officials. These positions have independent authority to adopt specific policies for their departments. In addition to these elected positions, several independent or nearly independent local boards have responsibility for such areas as alcoholic beverage control, elections, mental health, public health, and social services. School boards are separately elected by the citizens and have responsibility for education policies and setting the school system’s budget. None of these other local boards have the power to tax the citizens, that authority rests solely in the authority of the board of commissioners.
Commissioners in North Carolina come from a variety of backgrounds. Teachers, school principals, farmers, business leaders, lawyers, and retirees have all been elected county commissioners. No experiences or education is known to be the best preparation for success as a commissioner. Familiarity with some aspects of politics, budgeting, personnel management, communications, and the law can be useful. While no one expects a commissioner to be an expert in every facet of the job, the continuing demands of a county commissioner require commissioners to be knowledgeable of the various issues.
To be effective as a commissioner, applicable goals would include, but are not limited, to the following:
Educate the public and the media about the role of county government.
Enhance the abilities of county officials, at all levels, to represent the county on local, state, and national issues.
Facilitate regional collaboration with adjoining counties and intergovernmental collaboration with the towns and cities within the county.
Strengthen county leadership, at all levels, and development of citizens who serve on the various county boards.
Recruit and retain highly performing employees to provide effective and efficient services for our citizens.
Maintain the state-county relationships through effective communications and maintain positive working partnerships at all levels to acquire need resources for our citizens.
Research, develop, and implement a strategic plan for the county, which includes long and short-term goals, and major focus areas identifiable by expectations of our citizens.
Research, develop, and implement a Community Investment Program to effectively fund expensive capital needs of the county and the county’s school system.
my commitment to you
The Constitution of 1868, ratified by North Carolinians, gave citizens more input into electing their local leaders. Citizens were given the power to elect a sheriff, coroner, register deed, clerk of courts, surveyor, and treasurer, as well as the newly created board of commissioners. Commissioner replaces the appointed justices of the peace and were given full financial responsibility for the county, which include adopting the budget and setting the property tax rate. Today citizens still elect the commissioner, sheriff, register of deeds, and clerk of court, although the court system is now a function of state government. Counties remain an arm of state government and carry out the many services that are mandated by the state and federal government.
The opportunity to fill the candidacy seat, for County Commissioner, parallels my professional background and is of great interest to me. My career in public service has spanned more than 30-years and includes various leadership roles in both city and county government.
After retiring as a Deputy Fire Chief with the Charlotte Fire Department in 2018, I continue to serve currently as the Director of Emergency Management and Fire Services for Gaston County. That being said, I am eager and excited to continue to apply my skills and strengths to a new role. My strong work ethic, ability to manage stressful and sensitive situations, and lead cross-functionally has led to promotions, increased job responsibilities, and executive leadership roles.
Throughout my career in public service, I have strived to be a leader in the truest sense. I have become a student of leadership and I am continually developing my own effective style of leading others. I always endeavor to not only improve my personal capabilities, but that of my subordinates and the organization that I serve. I continue to spend countless efforts mentoring those around me. I have learned a tremendous amount over the years by watching others; I have seen which styles work and perhaps, more importantly, which styles do not. I capitalize on my own mistakes; no lesson is better learned than those learned the hard way, from costly mistakes.
I pledge character, competence, and commitment. I believe these attributes are the most important in a leader and they encapsulate the image of leadership. To me, character is the most important of these three attributes. I would describe character as having integrity, loyalty, boldness, and maturity. Character involves doing what is right when no one is looking, remaining loyal to the citizens and the elected office held, and most importantly, always being honest. Egos and personal agendas have no place in public service. Achieving the assigned task and fulfilling the mission of the county is of the utmost importance. Ultimately, my interest in this position is driven by my desire to achieve more, not only for the citizens that we serve, but also for the employees who are dedicated to this county. I understand that this will be accomplished through strong leadership and an ability to navigate an effective transitional process within the county as we deal with the new normal due to COVID-19.
There is no substitution for the ability to perform. Competent leaders have the ability to see the full view of any situation and, with great frequency, deliver the right outcome at the right time. Competence as a leader means having the tools for any situation and knowing when to utilize them. Competence does not come only from a college degree and it does not come solely from watching the actions of others. Competence is earned through individual experiences. Throughout my career in public service, I have developed the skills to become a competent leader. I am willing to make the hard decisions; I have the confidence to realize the vision, and the ability to excel even in the darkest times.
Commitment is being a professional everyone can count on, no matter the circumstance. I have learned that there are times when commitment is the only thing that will carry you forward. I have dedicated my life to public service, having served as a committed and passionate public servant, having held offices elected by fellow firefighters in two state fire associations, and appointed to serve on various boards/commission for the county and state. The ability to conjure the support and trust of peers and citizens, I believe, displays my aptitude to lead others in achieving great organizational accomplishments.
I am honored and sincerely appreciate this wonderful opportunity to continue to serve the great citizens of Cleveland County. Thank you for your support.
Candidate for County Commissioner (R)