By Alex Bridges
WOODSTOCK -- Mary Beth Price will take the helm of Shenandoah County's government starting in April as the Board of Supervisors begins the search for a new administrator.
Supervisors voted at a work session Wednesday in favor of appointing Price as acting county administrator effective April 1. Price, the assistant county administrator, will take over for County Administrator Douglas Walker, who leaves the post this month for a position in Albemarle County.
The county also will hire Mason E. "Gene" Swearingen to fill in for Price during her time as acting administrator. Swearingen previously has served as the town manager for Haymarket in Prince William County and worked as the director of the Office of Budget and Management for the city of Alexandria. Swearingen also has worked as an account executive for Monster Government Solutions. He is an adjunct instructor for the masters in public administration certificate program at Virginia Tech. Swearingen begins his role for the county April 1.
Price said that Swearingen was selected because of his human resource and budget background. "So that's what we'll have him focus on, primarily human resources," she said.
Also at the meeting, the board continued its discussion about enlisting the consulting services of Springsted. The county hired the firm almost three years ago to search for a chief administrator. That search resulted in the board hiring Walker.
The matter came up at a supervisors work session last Thursday and some members said Springsted could narrow the scope of its search efforts this time given that little had changed for the county in three years. Supervisors asked Springsted's John Anzivino to prepare a formal proposal that outlined the scope of their candidate search.
The process will change little from the previous search effort. Modifications to the position profile in the proposal did bring down the contract price approximately $2,500, according to Walker.
Walker reminded the board that the process could take several months.
Board Chairman Conrad Helsley noted that members could still submit comments on the search process to Springsted.
Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli asked if the board had vetted the pros and cons of going with Springsted or to conduct the search on its own.
Helsley said that the problem with doing it themselves was finding the time to do it.
"Plus, [Anzivino] has the ability to go out and search. He has contacts in the eastern part of the United States that we just don't have," Helsley said.
Vice Chairman Dennis Morris said he supported the board moving forward with Springsted.
"We've kind of got our act together and know which direction we're going in," Morris said.
The board voted to approve a resolution to enter into a contract with Springsted.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org