Town manager search begins

Published 2:40 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Farmville Town Council voted Oct. 8 to retain The Berkeley Group, a local government consulting firm, to help in an executive search for the next Farmville town manager following the abrupt retirement of Gerald Spates on Aug. 26.

David Whitus

Councilmembers Jamie Davis, of Ward E, and Brian Vincent representing Ward B were absent.

The Berkeley Group, based in Bridgewater, Virginia, will conduct the advertising and outreach for the next Farmville Town Manger.

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According to Mayor David Whitus, the firm will also develop a community survey to receive citizens’ input.

“There are a number of people in the community who have said they’d like to have some input on what the next town manager may look like,” said Whitus. “So, there is a piece that gives the community the chance to contribute through a survey.”

The firm will also be involved in the application and selection process and will submit the top five candidates to the council for the interviewing.

It is expected to take four to five months before council will name a new town manager, according to Mayor Whitus.

During the discussion, Mayor Whitus deviated from the council’s agenda to address a rumor about who may be seeking the town manager position.

“I do not generally address rumors because they are just rumors,” he said. “But I am going to say that there’s been a lot of conversation about who may or may not be applicants. Under state law, anybody that is an elected official cannot be a candidate for an appointed position until they have been out of office for we think it’s two years. It’s a lengthy-time period, so if you hear rumors out there that some of us are applying for this position. Not so, not true. Not legally possible. So hopefully, that’ll help maybe squish some of the rumor mills.”

Whitus continued to say that he has heard rumors that several council members may be candidates for the position. “That’s not possible … that’s not legal,” he added. “There’s nobody sitting up here with the exception of, potentially, Mr. Scott Davis, who can be a candidate for this job. So, you can lay all those rumors to rest.”

Dr. C. Scott Davis was appointed as interim town manager following Spates’ resignation. Previously, Davis was serving as assistant town manager.

Whitus said that he was excited about the process, especially the community input. “ I think it is a great process,” he said. “We will go through it, and we will see how it comes out on the other side, and in the meantime, the town is running well. We’ve not missed a step.”