New Market official takes interim manager role again

By Alex Bridges

NEW MARKET – A veteran New Market employee will take the helm again as leaders look for a permanent town manager.

Town Council voted 6-0 at their regular meeting Monday to appoint Department of Public Works Director Mike Ritchie to serve as the interim town manager. Ritchie takes over May 10 for Evan Vass who leaves the town manager position in May to become the assistant county administrator for Shenandoah County.

Ritchie has worked for New Market since 1989. This marks the third time Town Council has picked Ritchie to serve as the town manager in the interim.

“I feel honored,” Ritchie said after the meeting. “I don’t take that confidence lightly that they’re placing in me.”

“It’s a great staff and they’ll make it easy,” Ritchie added. “We have good council. I know that they’ll support me. It’ll be a smooth transition. We won’t miss a beat.”

How long Ritchie serves in the interim depends on when council finds and hires a new town manager.

At the beginning of the meeting members of the audience and council spoke highly of Vass and of regret for his departure. Shady Lane resident Sonny Mongold thanked Vass for his service.

“I think your record speaks for itself I hope for you the best of luck in your new endeavor,” Mongold said.

Vass told council he would attend their meeting of the committees next month. Though Vass’ last day on the job is May 9, he said he would also return to help council hold the public hearing on the fiscal 2015 budget and tax rates on May 12.

Also at the meeting, council voted 6-0 to give the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation a one-time donation. Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee met March 20 to consider the foundation’s request for $5,000 to help fund an orientation center in the Lee Jackson building.

The committee decided to offer the foundation a donation of $2,500. The town would give half of the amount to the foundation up front out of the current fiscal budget. The remaining half would come from the revenue collected through the meals tax by the new cafe in Lee Jackson building set to open in May, Vass explained.

The town manager noted that this arrangement ties the donation to the cafe’s performance. Vass explained that the town would collect the meals-tax revenue over a 6-month period and then make a payment to the foundation in December. If the amount of revenue collected falls below the $1,250, the town would make a second payment to the foundation in June 2015.

“I would hope that the performance of the cafe will allow you to meet that obligation,” Vass said.

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