Todd Walters appointed New Market town manager
NEW MARKET — If Todd Walters, 52, had stayed in Christiansburg for three more months he would have clocked 30 years of service with the town. Instead, he’s accepted the position of New Market’s new town manager.
“I was right there at the 30-year mark,” Walters said. “Which, you know, it’s just a number, but it still is somewhat of a goal. And I just had to weigh in my mind: opportunity or stay for three more months? And I just felt like this was a great opportunity.”
Despite council member Scott Wymer’s absence, the council had a quorum and all members present voted to confirm Walters as town manager Monday.
Walters intends to kick off his tenure as town manager by implementing his 90-day plan. Phase one is to hold one-on-one meetings with council members to understand their desires for the town, after which he’ll meet with the council as a whole to build a unified vision.
“Okay, here’s what you all said was important to you all, so let’s break this down, so that everybody can agree on what we want do the first two years — what do you see in the next five years, what do you see in the next 10 years?” Walters said after the confirmation vote.
From this dialogue, Walters hopes to carry out the town’s goals laid out in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
Walters first applied for the town manager position when the seat opened up in 2014 but was beaten out by Mike Ritchie, whom Walters is now replacing. Ironically, Ritchie was also 52 when he first became New Market’s town manager, and has now served his town for almost three decades too.
“‘It’s open again, can you believe it?'” Walters recalled thinking after Ritchie announced his retirement. “Maybe it’s just a timing thing.”
Council member Tim Palmer remembered Walters from his 2014 bid.
“Several years ago, he spent some time here looking at the town, to sort of become familiar with it,” Palmer said, praising Walters on his understanding of the local community. “He’s also demonstrated quite a bit of knowledge about New Market, about the job, and he has a 90-day plan in place and he’s done a lot to look forward to as new town manager.”
Walters has had his sights set on settling into a small town at the end of his career for quite a while. He said he’s been looking for somewhere small enough that “I can get my hands and my head around it.”
But the position alone isn’t Walters’ end-game. He’s already mindful of his legacy.
“If I’m not successful here, it’ll kind of feel like, ‘Yeah you were a town manager, but what did you do?'” Walters said. “So I’m going to be pretty focused on making this a success.”
Walters is still employed with the Town of Christiansburg as assistant director of engineering. He begins his duties as New Market town manager on Nov. 6, and will earn a salary of $75,000.