WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County Administrator Mary Price announced Wednesday evening that she is retiring from a 40-year career in local government.
“I am planning to retire April 1, 2019. I will get Angie and Evan through the budget,” Price said, referring to Angie Schellhammer, director of finance, and Evan Vass, assistant county administrator.
“After 40 years, I had a good ride,” Price said after the meeting.
Price, 58, took over as interim county administrator on March 22, 2013, and then was named county administrator on August 1, 2013.
She began working in the public sector much earlier — right out of high school, where she studied accounting at Triplett Tech. Her first job was working for the Town of Strasburg during the day and continuing her education at Lord Fairfax Community College during the evening. It was at the local college that she earned her associate degree in business and accounting. Price would later obtain her bachelor’s degree at Eastern Mennonite University by way of evening and online classes while working.
“It was a challenge but my husband and two sons were understanding. I hope it served as an example to my two sons what hard work, dedication, and commitment can provide in your life,” Price said afterward.
She is proud of the fact that she has always been approachable.
“I always had an open door and if a citizen came in, I invited them into my office and I listened and we talked. When our conversation was over, they were always thankful, complimented me on taking the time to meet with them and said that they learned something,” Price explained.
She has come to rely on her staff.
She said there are always challenges in a position of management. You have to have confidence and trust in department managers, who are the experts in their field, and work together toward a solution, she added.
“I have been reminded by some of my department managers that in the past I have instructed them ‘you can bring me a problem, but please bring a solution as well,’” Price said.
Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors chair Conrad Helsley said he has known of her retirement for a couple weeks.
“I knew that the time was coming. When you have that much time in, you deserve time to yourself. She has been great to work with,” Helsley said.
Helsley said he speaks with Price every day, Monday through Friday, at least one time a day, sometimes more. He pointed out Price gets phone calls and has to deal with emergencies on weekends as well.
“She has been professional and industrious. She was very dedicated,” Helsley said.