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Danville City Council names Ken Larking as city manager

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DANVILLE (WSLS 10) Danville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to name Ken Larking as city manager. Larking, 43, joined the City of Danville three years ago as deputy city manager and has served as interim city manager since Dec. 1.

He was selected through a national recruitment process.

"I want to thank the City Council for its confidence in me to serve as our community's next city manager," Larking said. "When I chose a career in public service, it was because I wanted to play a greater role in making a difference in my community. Now that I've been in Danville for a few years, I've witnessed firsthand how passionate our City Council and other city leaders are for their community.

"There is a willingness to take bold action to overcome past challenges and build a place where everyone has an opportunity to participate in our success, regardless of background. For me, it's been rewarding to play a part in this effort and I look forward to continuing to serve as city manager."

Danville operates as a council-manager form of government, meaning the city manager is the chief executive officer and is responsible for the day-to-day activities.

"It's an exciting time to be in Danville, and I count myself as fortunate to be here now," Larking said. "People have seen the tremendous potential we have here and are making significant investments in our River district and in other parts of the city.

"We have a creative and talented team of public servants who are focused on implementing the vision our leaders have for Danville. I intend to work hard with the people on our team, both inside and outside of city government, to build on our recent success."

Larking has more than 17 years of experience in government. Prior to joining the city, he was assistant county manager in Moore County, N.C., for three years, town manager in Yadkinville, N.C., for seven years and budget and performance manager in Hickory, N.C., for four years.

He holds a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in public administration from Appalachian State University.

"Since I live here, I am now not only motivated by my love for public service, I have a vested interest in the success of this community. My family has had time to take root in Danville, make friends and experience everything this area has to offer. My kids are at an age where they are building what will become life-long friendships."

Larking is married to Michelle, who is a high school English teacher at Gretna High School. They have two children: son, Alex, who is 14 years old; and daughter, Emma, who is 12.

They reside in Danville and are active members of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. Larking leads an adult Sunday school class and serves on the worship committee. Michelle Larking is a co-teacher for the middle school youth group. Alex is an active member of the youth group. Emma is an active member of the middle school youth group.

Larking enjoys running and biking on the Riverwalk Trail and attending events held in the River District.

The city contracted with Colin Baenziger & Associates in its search for a new city manager. The search attracted 55 applicants. Larking was one of nine semifinalists and one of six finalists interviewed.

Larking succeeds Joe King, who retired on Nov. 30 as city manager. King died less than a month following his retirement.