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Posted April 30, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Mt. Jackson town manager resigns

By Alex Bridges

Clark W. Draper III resigned Monday as town manager of Mt. Jackson after less than a year on the job.

Draper submitted a brief letter of resignation, Town Councilman Todd Holtzman said Tuesday. The resignation became effective the same day, Holtzman said.

"It was just an impromptu gathering of a few personnel," Holtzman said. "He notified us that he was going to resign to pursue some other endeavors, and at that point all we could do was wish him well and now we've got to move quickly to make some plans to fill that void and we're doing that now.

Town Council called a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Town code requires council formally accept Draper's resignation, Holtzman said.

Draper's resignation came as a surprise to some Town Council members who now face the task of filling the vacancy on short notice. Holtzman said Draper had not given him the impression he wanted to leave.

Councilman Donald I. "Donnie" Pifer had a different view.

"I don't know that it was a complete shock," Pifer said. "It wasn't a complete surprise."

But Pifer spoke favorably of Draper.

"I thought he was a really nice guy," Pifer said. "I'm sure he'll do well wherever he chooses to go."

Mt. Jackson Finance Director Neil Showalter will serve as acting town manager in the interim until council chooses a new chief administrator, Pifer said.

Town Council in February 2012 voted 6-0 to appoint Draper as the assistant town manager. Draper had served as town manager of Scottsville, in Albermarle County, for more than five years before being hired in Mt. Jackson. The plan called for Draper to eventually take over as town manager upon the retirement of Charles Moore, who had served in the position for 12 years. Draper took over as town manager Aug. 1, Pifer recalled.

But council did not fill the assistant town manager position, leaving no immediate backup for the government chief.

Draper's resignation comes before the Town Council has approved a fiscal 2014 budget, tax and utility rates and other fees. Holtzman said council does need to advertise the budget for a public hearing, but members may likely approve the financial plan in its current form. Council plans no increases in taxes for next fiscal year, Holtzman said.

"I think all that work is ready for the season," Holtzman said.

The special meeting likely would last only long enough for council to accept Draper's resignation, Holtzman said. Any discussion about personnel would be done in closed session, he added.

How council searches for a new town manager remains uncertain, but Pifer said he expected they would start advertising the position soon.

"Things are going to be a whirlwind in the next little while, I'm sure," Holtzman said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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