The Fairfax City Council selected a North Carolina city manager yesterday to replace its top executive who was forced out of office after officials discovered he had purchased a health club membership with public funds.

Edward A. Wyatt, 40, of Greenville was appointed to the $51,000-a-year city manager position from a list of 106 applicants who sought to replace George E. Hubler Jr., who resigned under pressure in September.

"What made Ed so attractive is he has won so many friends and so much acclaim down there," said Councilman Carl Hemmer, who said Wyatt was the unanimous choice of the mayor and six-member council.

Wyatt, who will assume the Fairfax position March 1, will oversee 275 employes and a $22 million annual budget. A native of Petersburg, Va., Wyatt has served as city manager in Greenville, a community of 35,000, since 1978.

He received a bachelor's degree in business from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and master's degrees from the University of Richmond and Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

Since Hubler's departure in September, former assistant manager Robert Norris has served as manager on an interim basis. Norris, who did not apply for the top executive job, submitted his resignation two weeks ago, effective March 17.