By Lindell J. Kay | lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

SPRING HOPE — The town’s license plate agency manager submitted his two-week notice a week ago, leaving officials scrambling to find a trained replacement.

“Timothy Johnson is leaving for another job,” said Karen White, president of the Spring Hope Area Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber hired Johnson — a former mayor, tax collector and town administrator in Bailey — in February 2019 to manage the agency.

Johnson didn’t return detailed messages left on his cellphone voicemail. The license plate agency isn’t accepting phone calls.

Past chamber president Allen Barbee said at the time of Johnson’s hire that he received the job due to his knowledge of everything concerning state government, federal regulations and his background with telephone companies. Once hired, Johnson underwent three weeks of license plate agency training in Raleigh.

The chamber is beating the bushes looking for someone with experience running a license plate agency to replace Johnson. Time is running out.

“We’re in a very sensitive time crunch,” White said.

The chamber is looking to hire a full-time manager who must have license plate agency experience and a part-time assistant manager.

“We have no way to train someone,” White said, adding that due to COVID-19 restrictions, state transportation officials aren’t training anyone right now.

White said the job would be perfect for a retired license plate agency manager looking for a slower pace at an agency that’s up and running with its ducks in a row.

The license plate agency, which opened its doors in April 2019, is meant to be more convenient for motorists living in southern Nash and surrounding counties.

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“There are people in neighboring counties who have to drive a great distance to get to an license plate agency. Or they are in such a rural area that they don’t have good internet service and they can’t do their services that they normally could online, so they’ll be able to come to a local office,” Johnson said when the office opened.

License plate agencies, which are privately run and operate under contract with the state Division of Motor Vehicles, offer vehicle registration services, title transactions, license plate renewals and duplicate registrations, according to a state Department of Transportation news release. There are more than 125 license plate agency offices throughout North Carolina.

Any qualified candidate can email the chamber at SpringHopeChamber@gmail.com. 

“The chamber initiated this venture to help attract people to downtown,” White said. “We don’t want to see it die.”





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