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County Manager's Office

County Manager's Office

The County Manager's Office is responsible for general administration of all county service areas and agencies under the guidance of the Board of Commissioners and for maintaining effective relationships with semi-autonomous and autonomous agencies. The County Manager implements commissioner goals and policies and advises the commissioners on financial matters, services and other issues.

Photo of the Union County Government Management team

Photo of County Manager Mark Watson


Mark Watson has served as County Manager since January 1, 2019.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Watson served as the County’s Chief Human Resources Officer for 24 years during which time he led a full range of human resource and risk management services. Watson’s no, non-sense approach of challenging traditional methods of health and prescription benefit management earned him the reputation for leading innovation and improving sustainable outcomes. He has been described by the John Locke Foundation as a “healthcare innovator” and a “fighter for healthcare freedom”. He has an extensive understanding of local government in North Carolina and experience that spans over 2 decades of rapid growth in the state’s eighth largest county.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Richard Helms expressed his delight in the Board’s selection. "Mark is a long tenured employee and longtime resident of Union County. He has institutional knowledge that will be valuable and also new ideas that will bring a unique perspective to the role of County Manager. I look forward to our Board working alongside him in this new role and supporting him as our organization and community continue to evolve."

Mr. Watson is a native of upstate South Carolina where he grew up working in the family land surveying, consultant forestry business and on the Watson cattle farm that was named the 2017 Heritage Conservation Farm of the Year. He and his wife, Jewel moved into the Marvin Community in the early 1990’s. They have three children and two grandchildren. Watson has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Winthrop University.

Contact Mark

500 N. Main Street, Suite 918
Monroe, NC 28112
Phone: 704-283-3636
Fax: 704-282-0121

Photo of Deputy County Manager Michelle Lancaster


Michelle Lancaster has been Deputy County Manager since February 5, 2019.

Prior to Union County, Lancaster served as Assistant County Manager/Consolidated Human Services Agency Director for Mecklenburg County. Lancaster provided executive oversight of the Consolidated Human Services Agency, which includes the Department of Social Services, the Health Department, MeckLINK Behavioral Healthcare, Provided Services Organization, and Child Support Enforcement and Community Support Services. As a member of the Mecklenburg County Executive Team, she shared responsibility for overall county executive administration. Prior to her role as assistant county manager, she served for 11 years in numerous positions with Mecklenburg County.

Lancaster earned a bachelor of arts in English and a master of public administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also holds an Executive Certificate in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare multi-system integration from Georgetown University (2012). In 2010 Lancaster was named one of Charlotte's 40 under 40 by the Charlotte Business Journal. She served on the Board of the United Way of the Central Carolinas (2009-2015), as board member for the Institute for Social Capital at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Urban Institute (2008-2015) and is a member of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s College of Human Services Board of Advisors. She is a member of the International City/County Manager’s Association and the North Carolina City/County Manager’s Association.

Contact Michelle

500 N. Main Street, Suite 920
Monroe, NC 28112
Phone: 704-283-3656
Fax: 704-282-0121

Photo of Assistant County Manager Patrick Niland


Patrick Niland has served as Assistant County Manager since April 29, 2019.

Patrick received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from Coastal Carolina University in 2006. He completed the International City/County Management Association's (ICMA) Leadership Program in 2016, and is an ICMA credentialed manager. Upon graduation, Patrick served as a government consultant for All American Associates, then as City Manager of Claremont, NC.

Prior to his current appointment, Patrick was the Town Manager of Wingate, NC for eight years. As Town Manager, Patrick oversaw water and sewer rehabilitation program, the construction of a combined town hall and fire station, and several other infrastructure projects for the town.

He and his family reside in Wingate, NC.

Contact Patrick

500 N. Main Street, Suite 918
Monroe, NC 28112
Phone: 704-283-3630
Fax: 704-282-0121

Photo of Assistant County Manager Brian Matthews


Brian Matthews has been Assistant County Manager since February 5, 2019.

Brian Matthews is a Planning and Zoning professional with over 23 years of experience in local government planning and administration. He has lived and worked in Union County for more than 17 years. He spent 12 years as the Town Manager for the Town of Stallings in Union County before taking a role as the Executive Director of Growth Management for Union County, which he has served in that role for the past 5 years. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He received a certification in planning from the American Institute of Certified Planners in 1999. He is a native North Carolinian, originally from Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Contact Brian

500 N. Main Street, Suite 70
Monroe, NC 28112
Phone: 704-292-2597
Fax: 704-292-2582