Marilyn Gardner

Board of Commissioners
Title: Mayor Pro Tem
Phone: 919-272-3453

Mailing address

134 N. Main Street, Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Phone number


Fax number



Marilyn Ballard Gardner has been a resident of Fuquay-Varina since 1986 and is currently in her third term as a Town Commissioner. With over 30 years of experience in real estate, she works as a Real Estate Broker with Century 21 Triangle Group.

Marilyn is actively involved in the community, serving on the Board of the Fuquay-Varina Downtown Association and Friends of the Fuquay-Varina Museums. She has held leadership positions in various clubs and organizations, including the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club, Fuquay Springs Questers, and Fuquay-Varina Junior Woman’s Club.

Prior to being elected as a Town Commissioner, Marilyn was appointed by the mayor to serve on the Consolidated School Redevelopment Commission, the Task Force to Determine the Feasibility of a Main Street program, the Fuquay-Varina Centennial Commission, the Mayor’s Transportation Study Commission, and the Mayor’s Committee to Study Cultural Art’s Needs in Fuquay-Varina.

She has received recognition for her contributions, including the Fuquay-Varina New Century Award, Fuquay-Varina Citizen of the Year Award, and the NC Main Street Champion designation in March 2023.

A Meredith College alumna, Marilyn received the Alumnae Award in 2000. Marilyn, a widow, was married to the late Charles W. Gardner for 38 ½ years. Together, they raised five children who attended local public schools. She relishes being a doting grandmother to five grandchildren.

As an active member of First United Methodist Church, Marilyn serves as a Sunday School teacher and has participated in mission trips to Haiti and Costa Rica. 

Board of Commissioners Duties and Responsibilities

  • Recruiting, selecting, and hiring a Town Manager and recognizing the role of a professional manager to serve the governing board as a whole
  • Establish the general framework under which the Town can meet the needs of the community
  • Appoint a Town Attorney
  • Set direction by clarifying the Town's mission and purposes and by setting goals for the short and long-term
  • Adopt policies and ordinances
  • Engage in strategy development (annual retreat)
  • Understand its own legal and ethical responsibilities
  • Enhancing the Town's public image
  • Provide citizens opportunities to comment on public issues respectfully
  • Making sure that resources are adequate to serve the public and are used for their intended purposes
  • Channeling communications appropriately to the Town Manager
  • Expecting staff to make independent and objective recommendations

Current Term

  • December 2023-2027
  • December 2023 - Elected as Mayor Pro Tem to serve a 2-year term

Previous Terms

  • December 2015 - Elected to Fuquay-Varina Town Board of Commissioners to serve 4-year term.
  • December 2019 - Elected to Fuquay-Varina Town Board of Commissioners to serve 4-year term.

Current Town Board of Commissioner Committees 

  • Law and Finance Committee, Chair

Other Appointments

  • Fuquay-Varina Museums Board, Town Liaison
  • Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association, Town Liaison

Return to Staff Directory