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Strasburg to lose two top officials

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- The town loses two top government officials next week.

Director of Public Works John Rhodes will retire Tuesday after working for Strasburg for almost 38 years, Town Manager Judson J. Rex said Friday. Rhodes announced his retirement several weeks ago and the town posted the vacancy on its website.

"He'll definitely be an asset that we're gonna lose," Rex said.

At the end of next week, Assistant Town Manager Greg Martin leaves Strasburg to take a position leading the municipal government of Los Lunas, N.M. Martin, 40, will assume the role of village administrator - similar to city manager - for the Albuquerque suburb.

"Well it has been a short time," Martin said. "It wasn't anticipated for me to move on at this point but, at the same time, we've accomplished quite a bit in the last year with regard to economic development and special projects. We feel pretty good about what we've done and where we're headed."

A recent town council work session illustrated officials' continued efforts toward economic development, according to Martin.

"The good thing is that there's a good, solid collaboration and a partnership going on with the town as well as other local organizations focused on that goal so obviously that's quite an accomplishment to be able to get to work together and rally around that," Martin said.

Martin took on the role created under then Town Manager Kevin Fauver in July 2010. He cited as one of his accomplishments the development of the Strasburg Visitor's Center.

The Michigan native and his wife have eight children. But while the move to New Mexico takes the family far from the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Martin noted that he, as one of 10 children himself, has family scattered across the country and likely would end up near relatives.

Martin made his announcement this week that he accepted the administrator's job in New Mexico. His last day is Friday, Rex said.

"He is our resident economic development expert so that's definitely gonna be a gap left there and we'll look to fill the position with somebody with similar experience," Rex said. "I guess we can always look for somebody with a technical and professional background but also with a taste and flavor for local Strasburg culture and being able to fit into the community. It's really just as important as having the experience necessary to do the job."

Rhodes leaves the public works department as the town remains busy with ongoing initiatives.

"We do have a lot of infrastructure projects going on right now and certainly those will continue after John leaves but his presence will be missed," Rex said. "He's got a very comprehensive knowledge of the town's infrastructure second to none and his experience and skills will be missed.

"He knows where most of the pipes are in town and he can tell you from memory where they're out," Rex added. "I know for several years now the town's been trying to download that knowledge from John through various technology such as GIS and some electronic mapping and different things and hopefully we'll be prepared for his departure, although I'm sure we'll still need to give him a call once in a while."

Rhodes began working for the town 38 years ago this August, according to Rex.

The town likely will advertise the pending vacancy for the assistant town manager position soon, Rex said.

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