New Prince Edward County administrator coming soon

Published 1:41 pm Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors’ Personnel Committee has narrowed down a new group of candidates for the county administrator position. The Board of Supervisors will likely make its final decision prior to its regular October meeting.

Jerry R. Townsend

After the board refined the pool to two candidates this summer, Board Chairman Jerry R. Townsend announced Aug. 4 the supervisors had made the decision to seek additional applicants.

“I think we got a total of 13 additional applicants, and we’ve narrowed it down to four,” Farmville 701 District Supervisor Jim Wilck said Wednesday, Sept. 16.

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The personnel committee is composed of Wilck, Townsend, who is the Leigh District supervisor, and Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet Sept. 24 at noon. Wilck said interviews will be conducted then.

Townsend said in the Aug. 4 statement that both of the previous candidates that were interviewed are still being considered for the position, along with the additional candidates that applied, but in his Wednesday interview, Wilck said he did not know if the two people from the first round of applicants will be considered.

Jim Wilck

“I think the finalist will come out of the four that are going to be interviewed now,” he said.

Townsend said in a Wednesday interview that the board’s final decision will probably not happen Sept. 24 but at a separate meeting. He said his plan is for the board to conduct the interviews, engage in a discussion and then make the final decision at a later date.

He noted it is probable the board will make that decision at a special meeting prior to the board’s regular October meeting. He noted it is possible the decision could come at the regular meeting, Tuesday,Oct. 13, but highly unlikely.

Current Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett’s contract with the county was originally set to expire June 30. However, on May 5 the board voted unanimously to extend his contract to end Sept. 30.

Shortly after the May 5 meeting, Townsend said he wanted Bartlett’s contract to be extended three months in order to ensure that the board had an appropriate amount of time to seek applicants for the position.

Bartlett said he agreed to the extension to help the county in the administrator transition process and to buy time for other county staff members to earn certifications that only he has had.

Though the end of Bartlett’s contract extension is nearing, Wilck ruled out the possibility of another extension.

“No, it will not be extended,” he said. “It’ll definitely be terminated (at) the end of September. And if there is a gap of a few days. That’s not really a concern.”

He stated that Assistant County Administrator Sarah Elam Puckett can more than handle the gap, and Townsend echoed this perspective.

“Our assistant county administrator is capable of handling whatever, however long we need for her to do it,” he said. And in terms of the county administrator search, “what I will say is that we’re not going to make an uninformed decision. We’re going to make sure we do our homework, research before we make a final decision.”

Wilck said the county has made several hires recently that will help lighten the load of responsibilities on a brand new administrator. These hires include a new, experienced county planner and also someone who will be in charge of the landfill.