New Market hires new manager

By Ryan Cornell

NEW MARKET — Town Council named Mike Ritchie as its new town manager at a meeting Tuesday night.

Ritchie, 52, had been filling in as interim town manager of New Market since Evan Vass left the position in May to become assistant county administrator for Shenandoah County.

Originally from Broadway, Ritchie has worked for the town since 1989 and served as the director of its public works department since 2007.

This marked the third time he’s stepped in as interim town manager — in 2008 and 2010 — though this was the first time he’s applied for the town manager job.

“I think just after having served twice as an interim [town manager] and my continued experience after that in public works, I have been exposed to a whole lot of the town management,” Ritchie said. “It just made me feel like the time was right.

“I think I have an intimate knowledge of New Market’s infrastructure that no other candidate could possibly have had,” he added. “I’ve spent so much time here, I’ve dug up most of the lines, just knowing the people and I think that’s a real strength.”

He said he’s looking forward to working with Marketing Director Brittany Clem on new events and activities for the town, and continuing with infrastructure, water and sewer improvement projects.

Charles Litten, chairman of the council’s finance and personnel committee, declined to disclose Ritchie’s new salary, but said it’s less than the previous town manager’s.

Ritchie was chosen from among six candidates interviewed by the committee out of 31 total applicants.

Litten said the six candidates were ranked two ways, in terms of qualifications and as a fit for the town.

“Any one of those could’ve taken this position,” he said. “There was one candidate that was just, his qualifications were through the ceiling, but I didn’t think he was a fit for New Market…he was from a much bigger town with a much bigger salary and I just didn’t think he was a fit for us.”

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com