Strasburg Town Manager Wyatt Pearson is heading to Frederick County to become the planning and development director there.
Pearson, who was appointed to his current position internally from the Planning and Zoning Department in May 2017, will leave on May 3.
“There is never a right time to leave, and I will really miss serving the Strasburg community as well as the amazing staff that I have worked alongside of,” Pearson said in a news release announcing his resignation. “Strasburg’s Town Council is a cohesive group of decision-makers well poised to continue building upon their successes, and a future manager will continue to receive support from an experienced staff.”
The decision was a chance for Pearson to return to this “first love” of government work that he has a background in and further expand his experience, he told the Northern Virginia Daily during a phone interview Wednesday.
Leaving the often-called “chief executive officer” position of the town for a more specific role was among his considerations for the job change, he said.
Town Mayor Brandy Boies said in a news release that town officials are sad to see Pearson leave but grateful for all he has done for Strasburg.
“Because of his leadership, Strasburg is an attractive place to work, and I am confident that we will have a talented pool of candidates to choose from as we search for our next town manager,” Boies states in the release.
Pearson, 29, who lives in Strasburg with his wife and son, will be making $120,000 at his new position with Frederick County. He was appointed to his current position in Strasburg four years ago at a salary of $88,471.
He will oversee about 10 employees and about a $1.2 million budget at the department, versus the about 75 employees and $17 million budget with the Town of Strasburg. In the short term, he plans on commuting to Frederick County and then move there in the long term.
Lee Pambid, the town's planning and zoning administrator who worked with Pearson daily, said in an email that it has been a privilege to work with Pearson. Pambid called Pearson an impressive and capable town manager,
“It’s impressive to note all he’s accomplished in a short time,” Pambid said.
The release announcing Pearson’s notification to the Town Council of his decision states he worked to further the council’s strategic priorities during his four years of service.
Specific projects completed or underway during his time include the last two of three phases of a $4.3 million streetscape project, completion of the Community Development Block Grant Project in downtown, the completion of the Gateway Trail Project near Food Lion, and various organizational improvements.
The council is prioritizing finding an interim town manager replacement after Pearson leaves and wants that person to not be a candidate for the permanent position, Boies said. A decision to look internally or externally, or use a search firm for a permanent replacement will be discussed at the council work session on Monday.
With the budget process just getting underway in town, Boies said the council is looking to gather as much knowledge from Pearson before he leaves, and that she has faith in town Finance Director Angela Fletcher to provide help.