GUILFORD COUNTY — Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne plans to step down at the end of the year.

Payne made the announcement during the Nov. 18 Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting before he thanked the board for their support over the past dozen years.

“I want to thank you for having the opportunity to be able to do what I’ve done for the last 12 years,” Payne said. “I want to thank this board, and I want to thank all the boards before me for the last 12 years, to give me a chance to do this job, which is a fantastic job. It’s rewarding. It’s challenging. I don’t know if this speaks well or ill of me, but it’s actually been a fun job.”

He said one of the best parts of the job was learning how difficult the jobs are of other Guilford County employees who work every day to make life better, he said.

Two days earlier, Payne had informed the county’s legal department employees and a few other county officials of his decision, which took many by surprise.

The county attorney works directly for the Board of Commissioners, which means having nine bosses who have varying political leanings and views of what should be done.

Chairman Skip Alston thanked Payne for his 12 years of service to Guilford County.

“You’re retirement is very well deserved,” Alston said.

Payne came to Guilford County in October 2009 after serving as the county attorney for Johnston County in Smithfield for 13 years. Guilford County had six county attorneys in the year before Payne arrived.

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