LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — After more than four years serving as Lexington’s City Manager, Terra Greene is retiring from the position. 

She was appointed in January 2019. 

However, her government service goes back more than two decades.  

She rose through the ranks to eventually earn one of the city’s top leadership positions.  

“I had a business administration degree and came in as the finance director in 1997 and didn’t have initial aspirations. I really just rose to the call of the organization when the time came,” Greene said.  

That would lead to a career of more than 25 years managing Lexington’s resources during some of the worst of times, particularly when the furniture industry began to shift, to what she now describes as a renaissance. 

“I’m very grateful that we have Fortune 150 companies like Nucor, a global company like Siemens Mobility that chose Lexington. That was one of things we realize, we have to make ourselves known so that people come here,” she said.  

Greene made history when she was appointed Lexington City Manager. 

She became the first woman to serve in that role in the history of the position, which in 2019 meant it took 84 years for that to happen.  

However, Greene says she didn’t like that recognition at the time.  

“I wanted to earn the respect holding the position, not as a woman holding the position” she said.  

She wanted her work, such as pushing for lower rates for electric utility customers, being the first to raise the city’s population in 20 years, and advocating for a diverse population to be what stands out regarding her tenure.

Greene’s work was met with unprecedented challenges including navigating decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

It was a time in which the city was not only dealing with a health crisis but also social and political tension.  

Greene helped manage the 141 consecutive days of protests and counterprotests centered around the future of a confederate monument in 2020.  

“How we stepped through that process for six months and made sure that we did it legally and that we were respectful of all opposing viewpoints and safely relocate that out of our community without any public safety incidences or business damage, I am very proud of that. It took quite a toll.” 

It’s a job that comes with being in the hot seat, but Greene says she wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo.  

“I hope that the residents of Lexington and the business owners of Lexington and our utility customers know that I was always fighting for them in every decision I made.” 

The interim city manager will take over on June 1. 

Greene will serve as a senior advisor to the city until Dec. 1.