Assistant Town Manager Named New County Planning Director

Johnston County Manager Rick Hester has named the replacement for former Johnston County Planning Director Berry Gray who resigned in April to accept a similiar job in Wayne County that was closer to his home.

On Tuesday, Hester announced the hiring of Braston Newton, 45, the assistant town manager and planning director for the Town of Benson.  Newton will begin work on August 27th as the new Johnston County Planning Director.

“I feel honored first and foremost,” Newton told WTSB. “It is a honor to serve the County I grew up in. It will be a challenge. There are a lot of issues and challenges facing the County and I hope to be a part of addressing some of those issues. I am very excited about working with the county staff members, many I already know. I’ve had a great working relationship with them in the past. That will not be any different now.”

Newton grew up in the Broadslab / Meadow area of Johnston County and graduated from South Johnston High School in 1990. He graduated from East Carolina University in 1995 and returned home to Johnston County afterwards.

After graduation, Newton went to work for 18 months for the Town of Benson. He then went to work in the private sector in engineering consulting and real estate development. He returned to the Town of Benson in 2009.

Braston is married to his wife of 19 years. They have two children, ages 11 and 15.   They reside in the Benson area.

His last day with the Town of Benson is August 22nd.  His salary as Johnston County Planning Director will be $80,850. Gray’s salary had been $80,193.