New Market town executive takes county post

By Alex Bridges

Shenandoah County officials didn’t need to look far for their next assistant chief of government.

New Market Town Manager Evan L. Vass has been picked as the new assistant county administrator for Shenandoah County, according to a press release issued Wednesday. Vass fills the vacancy left by Mary T. Price who became the county administrator last year.

“It’s an opportunity to make a logical career progression and also it allows me to remain a resident of New Market and continue to raise my family in southern Shenandoah County,” Vass said by phone Wednesday.

Vass begins his duties May 12. He will provide management oversight and assistance to Price. Vass will receive a salary of $91,342.

The advertisement for the position also indicated a desire by the county to hire someone who would provide advice and guidance to departmental directors and would review activities and issues related to various departments. The advertisement also notes the assistant administrator will monitor and review the county’s solid waste operations as it relates to environmental oversight, regulations and permit requirements by regulatory agencies.

The assistant administrator also will serve as the public information officer on the county’s emergency management team during such events.

“I’m looking forward to getting a start and working with Mrs. Price and getting assigned those tasks,” Vass said.

But Vass has worked with Price and other county officials in the past on issues related to the town.

“Working in a town in Shenandoah County you do interact with the staff and occasionally even elected officials,” Vass said. “I’ve always enjoyed a great working relationship and this even predates some of the current staff.”

County officials involved in the search process selected Vass from a pool of more than 30 applicants. The panel made up of Price, Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson and county Treasurer Cindy George began interviewing applicants earlier this month.

Vass served as town manager of New Market from November 2003 to July 2008, then worked as assistant town manager of Harrisonburg until July 2010 when he returned to his previous position in New Market.

Vass’ pending departure leaves Town Council with the task of finding a replacement. Vass said council met in closed session at its regular meeting Monday to discuss the matter. Council at that time did not make any decisions on how to move forward, but Vass said he expects the finance and personnel committee to discuss the matter at a meeting Monday.

Next steps could include naming an interim town manager to fill in for Vass once he leaves, and then how council would proceed in finding a permanent replacement.

The 33-year-old native of Churchville in Augusta County graduated from James Madison University in 2003 with a bachelor of science degree in public administration. Vass received a master of public administration degree from the university in 2008.

Vass’ wife Mary Hope, a native of Mount Jackson, works as the public information officer for Harrisonburg. The couple lives in New Market with their daughter, who is nearly 2 years old.

“New Market is a wonderful place to work,” Vass said. “It’s a wonderful place to call home and it’s a wonderful place to raise a family.”

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