A former Wilkes County manager has returned as the county's interim manager while John Yates is on medical leave.

The Wilkes County commissioners hired Gary Page, county manager here from 1996 to 2008, for the interim position effective Wednesday.

A half-page employment agreement between Page and the county said Page will serve in the interim position for 90 days or until Wilkes County Manager John Yates returns from medical leave. Yates was present at the county commissioners meeting Tuesday night.

The agreement says Page will work three to five days per week as the workload requires and be paid $50 per hour. He isn’t eligible for county fringe benefits such as group health insurance or retirement contributions.

The agreement says Page is eligible to receive reimbursement for all work-related travel expenses, per existing county policies.

It also says, “The interim manager shall fulfill all duties and responsibilities as prescribed in the job description for county manager.”

Construction of a new county courthouse, county library and other public facilities were being discussed here when Page became Wilkes County manager in 1996. He played a key role in carrying out these construction projects.

Page left Wilkes to become Rowan County manager, where he remained until he retired in 2014. By then, the Appalachian State University graduate had logged 30 years in county and municipal government management in North Carolina.

His work since retiring has included interim manager of the Town of Newland and interim director of the Boone-based High Country Council of Governments, which serves Wilkes and six other counties in northwestern North Carolina.

Gary Blevins, chairman of the Wilkes County commissioners and former High Country Executive Board chairman, said Wilkes is fortunate to have Page while Yates is on medical leave. Page's hometown is Reidsville.

Blevins said he and the other county commissioners are eager for Yates to get well and return to work.

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