Ruffin Hall, the lowkey puppet master of Raleigh City Hall, plans to retire at the end of the year. 

His last day will be December 31.

Hall, 50, has served as city manager since 2013, in essence running the city behind a curtain. He’s not a household name like Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin or members of the Raleigh City Council but he’s been instrumental in pushing forward a number of key projects as the city’s top bureaucrat. He’s in charge of about 4,200 municipal employees and gets to carve out the city’s billion-dollar budget. 

During his tenure, the city created a master plan for Dix Park, opened the new Raleigh Union Station, and renovated Moore Square Park. Additionally, Hall helped implement pay increases for city employees, restructure the city’s organizational values, and guide its rebranding. 

Hall called the job of running Raleigh, “the most rewarding and proud moment of my entire life,” in a statement Wednesday.

“I am ready to try some new and different things professionally but to be clear I don’t have another job or some opportunity immediately in front of me.,” Hall said. “But now is a good time to explore some other professional opportunities.”

Hall was selected to run the city in 2013 after a decade of serving as Charlotte’s assistant city manager. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who served on council when Hall was hired, said Hall was given goals including “to make city government more efficient and strategic.”

“We outlined areas that needed attention, such as a dedicated funding stream for affordable housing, a modernized communications program and city brand, and a more robust commitment to public-private partnerships — the types of partnerships that helped build Oak City Cares and the Southeast Raleigh YMCA,” Baldwin said. “Under Ruffin’s leadership, we have made huge strides in all these areas, expanded and improved our services, and grown a visionary management team. While we will miss him, we also recognize that his positive impact on the City will be felt for years to come.”

The Raleigh City Council will now be tasked with finding Hall’s successor. Hall says he’ll stick around through the end of the year to help with the transition. 

“I am very appreciative of all the support I’ve received from the Mayor and Council,” Hall said. “While there is never an easy time to leave, it was important for me to make this transition before the next budget process and City Council election.”

Here’s the email Hall sent the mayor and council announcing his decision.

Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall’s Retirement Letter by Leigh Tauss on Scribd

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