Waltz named Front Royal town manager

Joseph Waltz

FRONT ROYAL – The Town Council plans to appoint Joseph E. Waltz as the new head of local government.

Mayor Hollis Tharpe held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the gazebo on Main Street to announce that he and council members picked Waltz, a 12-year employee of Front Royal, to serve as the next town manager. The council intends to vote on Waltz’s appointment at its meeting Monday.

“First of all, I’m honored and excited to be the next town manager for the town of Front Royal,” Waltz said at the news conference. “I look forward to working with Town Council, the citizens of this community and staff to bring the town into the future and I look forward to a great, prosperous time for us.

“We’ve got a lot of things to do and we’re ready to get them done,” Waltz added. “My objective is to streamline our service delivery and focus on customer service.”

Waltz replaces former town manager Steve Burke who left for a position in Manassas in November. The council appointed Waltz as interim town manager on Nov. 16.

Councilmen John Connolly and William Sealock Jr. and Human Resources Director Julie Bush reviewed 45 applications for the position. They narrowed the field of candidates to six and the council held interviews before reducing the number to the final two. The council and the mayor conducted the final two interviews during a closed session Monday, Sealock said. At that point, the  council made the decision to move forward with appointing Waltz.

Sealock spoke about Waltz’s 12 years working for the community and his role as interim town manager.

“I can tell you from what I’ve seen in the last six months, he acquired the job in a desperate situation,” Sealock said. “He’s made the best of it. He continues to do that. I’m looking for great things from him.”

Councilman Jacob Meza commented on the hiring process and his experience working with Waltz during the past few months.

“It was a clear and unanimous agreement that Joe was a front-runner and stood out in the interview process,” Meza said. “I couldn’t be more proud that we could take one of our own and put in the town-manager position.

“If the past six months could be indicative of the future, then I have full confidence that the town of Front Royal is gonna be in good hands,” Meza added.

Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger said it felt like the town had “solid leadership” with Waltz at the helm the past six months.

“I think we’ve all been able to see the wonderful qualities that Joe has as a leader,” Egger said. “He’s very strong and assertive but he’s also humble and collaborative as a leader and I think those are all really essential qualities.”

Vice Mayor Eugene Tewalt said the council chose someone who, with 12 years experience working in Front Royal, knows the town, its employees and its leaders.

The town hired Waltz in December 2005 to lead and manage Front Royal’s municipal electric utility. He served as the town’s director of public utilities from 2006-2008 and later he led the town’s electric services department. Tewalt credited Waltz for his work in helping the town boast the lowest electricity rates in the state.

Waltz started his 26-year career in the electric power field as a meter reader. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business from Strayer University and an associate’s degree in applied science in electronics. Waltz received a certificate in public administration from Shenandoah University and is a certified energy procurement professional from the Association of Energy Engineers. He also has served as a board member for American Municipal Power.