The life of Erby
ve been the foundation for Gordon Erby’s nearly 30 years serving the public in his native Lunenburg County, he took from The Andy Griffith Show.
The fictional sheriff in the fictional North Carolina town seemed to look for the best in everyone, tried to be helpful to everybody, and tried to be fair to all.
“I’m like Andy of Mayberry,” Erby said. “I learned more about government and how to treat people by watching that show than any book. My family is the people of this county; (of course,) as in all families we don’t always agree.”
Erby, 60, was running a furniture store down the street from Victoria town hall when the job of town manager came open. He applied.
Erby worked as town manager from 1986 until 1992, and then continued to hold that job as he simultaneously served as the county administrator from 1992 until 1996.
“I’m a little proud of the thing,” Erby said. “It was a struggle, but it was a lot of fun. I’d go to work six in the morning and get off at six in the afternoon, and I’d eat on the way out there. It challenged everything I had on every level.”
Each job carried its own particular challenges. The issues confronting him as town manager were more numerous, such as overseeing Victoria’s police force, and its water and sewer operations, he said. There were fewer issues as county administrator, but they were larger, like the school system and landfill, he said.
Among his greatest achievements was keeping the town’s shoe factory open long enough for many of its older employees to retire.
“We attracted about 11 industries when I was up there,” he said. “Of course, most of them are gone now.”
Landing Lunenburg Correctional Center in the early 1990s and its approximately 300 jobs was another achievement.
“There’s been a lot of people came through that had good jobs – good jobs for this area,” he said.
Erby has been married to his wife Mary since 1986.
“I’ve got a great wife,” he said. “Just super. She’s supported me all the way through.” They have two sons, Adam, 28, and Collin, 25.
In 1996, Erby cut his work load down to just county administrator, but the next year was appointed Clerk of Circuit Court.
“It just got to the place it was just too much,” he said.
He is running for a third elected term. He calls the job interesting.
“It’s not as fast paced but it a lot of things I’m interested in – deeds and records,” he said.
“It’s a lot of history here. That’s one of the things I enjoy,” he said. People come from as far away as California and Texas researching their family lineage, he said. “It’s always fun to work with them, see where they’re coming from.”
He’s also been involved in government and on his job long enough to be there for those who don’t understand the system or need a helping hand.
“I can’t give them legal advice, but I can gently point them where they need to go,” he said.