Pinehurst mayor to retire from public service

Published 6:05 am Wednesday, September 25, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


City of Pinehurst Mayor Joseph ‘Pete’ Runnels will retire from public service according to a letter of retirement he sent to members of the city council.

Runnels will retire effective Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. 

Runnels has served in the community in several positions over the years.

In a letter to the editor, he wrote, “For 45 years, I’ve served the Orange County Citizens in many different roles.  I served as Orange County Judge and Orange County Democratic Chairman…I am now serving my 6th term, 12 years as Mayor of Pinehurst.”

He has served as Administrative Assistant to the Orange County Judge, two terms as Orange County Judge, six terms as Mayor of Pinehurst.

He was also instrumental in the creation of Orange County Ambulance Service, completion of the Raymond Gould Community Center, purchased right of way for the widening of North Farm to Market Road 105 and purchased first set of “Jaws of Life” for Orange County.

Runnels is also the person who initiated the annual Senior Citizen Labor Day Picnic.

“I started talking about doing something for the seniors and suggested the Fourth of July but was told there was not enough time to organize it by then,” Runnels said. “That is how we selected Labor Day.”

Runnels got the idea city workers were returning to the office discussing a man who was now living alone and how much it bothered them.

The annual event began in 2000 and has been held every year expect twice due to a hurricane.

The letter, dated September 19, 2019, reads:

Dear Council Members:

I would like to inform you I will be retiring effective October 3, 2019.

I have truly appreciated the opportunity to serve as the Mayor for the City of Pinehurst. I sincerely value the support provided to me during my tenure as Mayor.

 While I look forward to enjoying my retirement and spending time with my family, I will miss being part of the City of Pinehurst.

If I can be of any assistance before or after my departure, please let me know. I would be happy to provide any assistance for a smooth transition to my successor.


Joseph L. “Pete” Runnels.