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Spates serves Farmville well

In some instances, when someone remains in a leadership position for a long period of time, it can be a sign of the organization or institution being in a comfortable rut. Phrases that could come up include “business as usual” and “maintaining the status quo.”

The maintenance of familiar leadership could also be the product of a cautious or timid approach, simply meant to maintain stability at the top.

While Farmville has enjoyed the stability of a familiar presence in the town manager position for the past 39 years, it is a testament to the leadership of Gerald J. Spates that the town has hardly languished or stood still during that time.

Ward C Councilman and Vice Mayor A.D. “Chuckie” Reid chairs the town’s personnel committee, which recently offered a recommendation to extend Spates’ contract, and he provided some insight into what Spates has done for Farmville.

“The town is thriving and experiencing economic growth, (including) the addition of new businesses, restaurants and motels,” he said. “With his leadership, Farmville continues to flourish and grow as a tight-knit community with rich history, culture and beauty.”

It was via a unanimous vote that the Farmville Town Council extended Spates’ employment contract for an additional three years last week, with the possibility of a two-year renewal at the end of the term included.

As sports editor I am used to covering coaches who have remained in the same position for years because of their ability to consistently guide their teams to victory. Particularly in high school and college, they are rarely dealing with the same exact team from year to year, so they must be adaptable in order to continue to find success.

Spates has proven he can be adaptable, and as Farmville Downtown Partnership President Sheri McGuire said in a town press release, he “has served Farmville well.”