As town staff prepares to move the town hall to new offices in September, the Town of Dumfries is looking for a new town manager to lead about 30 employees.
Dumfries Town Council fired Town Manager Rob Ritter after a closed session during a special meeting Aug. 13.
The council decided Ritter was not a good “fit” for the town after he served in the position since May 2017, Mayor Derrick Wood said.
“This council unanimously decided they wanted to go in a different direction, a different vision,” Wood said. “Nothing against the guy; he’s a great guy, he’s of good character. It’s just he didn’t line up with the direction of the place we want to go.”
Springsted Inc., which assisted the town in hiring Ritter, is set to help in the hunt for a new town manager, Wood said. Since Ritter was fired within two years of being hired, Springsted will help hire a new leader under the same contract. The original contract to hire a town manager was for $34,500. If Ritter was terminated or resigned within two years, Springsted agreed to assist the town in hiring a new town manager, with only fees to cover expenses.
The town council is looking to hire a manager who can execute the town’s 2030 vision that was revised in February, Wood said. The 2030 vision prioritizes nurturing a sense of community, making Main Street friendly for walkers and bikers, a commitment to the environment, including Quantico Creek, Port of Dumfries, Quantico Bay and its tributaries, and continuing to foster a vibrant business environment.
“I think the most important thing is beautifying the main street, cleaning up the blight, as far as properties and cars, focusing on the Route 1 improvement project, and proactively attracting and bringing business to our town,” Wood said.
The U.S. 1 widening project is expected to move southbound traffic to a wider six-lane highway on the northbound route, freeing up Main Street. Contingent on funding, the project is set to be completed in 2024.
Building a relationship with council to help implement policies is important, Wood said.
“We’re looking for a great administrator, someone who motivates and gets the town staff to get stuff done effectively and efficiently,” Wood said.
In May, the town bought the three-story red brick building next to the current Town Hall on Main Street for about $5.2 million.
Staff is set to move the Town Hall to the second floor of the building in September and council is expected to meet in the new Town Hall starting in October, Wood said, adding the move should be completed in January.
“I think the town is moving in a forward direction; a lot of things you’re going to start to see in the town — you’ll see the Main Street clean up of blighted properties, even the blighted businesses will clean up. We are going to clean up the front of the house so when you’re driving down Dumfries it will be welcoming to businesses and residents. So stay tuned because for Dumfries, the best is still yet to come.”
Wood said the job posting should be online in September and they hope to hire a new town manager before January, when the council considers it’s mid-year budget.