CARY — Rich Gianni of Cary was appointed to the Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday.
The board unanimously voted to appoint Gianni, who will complete Tony Gurley’s term. Gurley resigned from the board in February to become chief operating officer of the Office of State Budget and Management.
Gianni will take his seat on the board on April 21. Gianni, a Republican, is running for the District 3 seat in the fall election.
He says his budget and cash management experience will help him guide the county’s use of tax money. Gianni, 54, lives in Cary with his wife and youngest child.
His roots: Gianni is from Weirton, W.Va., a town of about 20,000 people.
Education: He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Steubenville in Ohio in 1982. He earned a master’s degree in business from Duke University in 1996.
His move to North Carolina: Gianni spent the early years of his career as an accountant for Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.
“I knew at the time steel was a dying industry,” he said.
So he and his wife, Christie, moved to Cary in 1992.
His career: Since then, Gianni has served in financial roles for several companies. He currently works as chief financial officer for Ziptronix, a Raleigh semiconductor company.
A political novice: Gianni has never run for public office, but he said he has stayed informed.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics and what’s going on in the area,” he said.
Gianni said he had been busy with his three children, ages 12, 22 and 25. But now his schedule is more flexible and he has more time to devote to public office.
Top issues in Wake: Gianni said he wants to focus on several issues, including transit, school spending and budgets for law enforcement and emergency services.
Commissioners need to look at whether money is being spent wisely, he said. “My goal is to make sure we are running as efficiently as possible.”
Top issue in Cary: The $810 million school bond that was approved by voters last fall is a big issue in Cary and throughout the county, Gianni said.
He said county leaders need to make sure schools are being built for the best price, and to be on the lookout for hidden costs.
Some schools in Cary are overcrowded, he said. “I think there is definitely a need for more schools.”
The election: Gianni will run as an incumbent in the fall. He shrugged off the notion that his appointment to the board could give him an advantage in the race.
“I’m not focused on that,” he said. “I want to get involved and focus on the work of the commission.”
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