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The Search for a City Manager: A Profile in Civility

August 12, 2019

When City Manager Noah Simon departed Lexington, Virginia for Westlake, Texas earlier this year, he left an open seat in a community that prides itself on history and culture, but also – civility. What a novel concept in this era of division and rancor! Almost an anachronism itself, you ask residents about what makes Lexington a special place and a common response is – civility. It is a community that isn’t afraid to disagree from time to time, but how they do so makes the difference.

 

The city boasts a population over 7,000 residents and a median age of 22 – making it one of the youngest jurisdictions in the nation, attributed undoubtedly, to the presence of two higher education institutions – Washington & Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. The City is well known for its outstanding architecture, record of historic preservation, quaint and thriving downtown, friendly people, cleanliness and quality of life. As anyone around town will tell you, Lexington is a very unique community. 

 

The task at hand is finding a candidate that’s the right fit for the community. Listening to the community was the initial task. The new manager needs to be an approachable problem solver and bring a strong background in finance and project management. First on the “to-do” list for the new manager will be to guide the search for a new finance director who will be retiring after spending his career in the organization. Ultimately, the new city manager will be responsible for leading the 120-employee organization and administering the $28.1 million annual budget.

 

As with any community, challenges and opportunities exist which include managing a robust capital improvement program and upgrading aging infrastructure. Decisions will need to be made to address overcrowding at the regional jail facility. Addressing affordable housing and working with the development community to seek solutions to housing needs is vital. Managing the “creep” of higher education facilities into surrounding neighborhoods is a discussion that needs to occur. Overall though, the chord that resonates most deeply with the community is to build upon those things that make it Lexington and maintain a high quality of life for residents and visitors. 

 

If you’re looking for a place to land that honors tradition, embraces the future and can approach challenges in a team environment, this might be your landing spot.

 

If interested, please reach out to Margaret Schmitt at margaret@bgllc.net with a cover letter and resume.

 

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