Former Chatham County Finance Director Vicki McConnell receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor

Pittsboro, NC – Vicki McConnell, recently retired Chatham County Deputy County Manager and Finance Director, has received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina.

Chatham County commissioner Mike Dasher presents former Chatham County Finance Director Vicki McConnell with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award on June 21.

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners presented McConnell with the award at their meeting on June 21, 2021, at the Historic Courthouse in Pittsboro.

The recognition is given to “persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments,” according to The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society. Past honorees include Maya Angelou, Richard Petty, Dean Smith and Billy Graham. Retired Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long received the award in July 2020.

McConnell retired as the Deputy County Manager and Finance Director in February 2021 after 45 years of service with Chatham County government.

McConnell’s nomination was supported by NC District 54 Representative Robert Reives, Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne and Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Dasher.

“Vicki was the symbol for financial stability, accountability and ethics. For the board of commissioners, Vicki was our financial rock,” Dasher wrote in his nomination letter. “She played a key role in preparing us to make critical decisions about capital projects, establishing an excellent working relationship with the school system and shepherding us through financial relationships with our non-profit agencies.”

During her tenure, McConnell played an instrumental role in the computerization of County finance records. Under McConnell’s leadership the Chatham County Finance Departmentreceived the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for 30 consecutive years. This national honor is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Also under the direction of McConnell, the Chatham County Finance Department created a sustainable method of funding future capital projects, which has enabled the County to secure and maintain a AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s.

“Vicki’s integrity is above reproach, and her public finance knowledge is immense,” said LaMontagne. “Combine these two things, and it is the reason why Chatham County’s financial management is some of the best in the state.”