The Town of Buchanan is now looking for a town manger to fill the vacancy created when Mary Zirkle resigned effective at the end of last year.

At the time, Town Council delayed searching for a replacement and instead hired an interim town manager while it also began the search for a mayor to assume the post Larry Hall left on December 1. Council also began looking for a new law firm to represent the town because of Joe Obenchain’s retirement.

With an experienced interim town manager in place in Jon Ellestad, a new mayor in Craig Bryant and a new law firm with Jonathan Puvak from Gentry Locke in Roanoke, council turned its attention last week to filling the town manager’s position on a more permanent basis.

Council met in a work session to establish criteria for a town manager and began advertising the position this week, and the advertisement notes, “This position serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Town and serves at the pleasure of the Town Council.”

The town manager supervises six employees and also oversees the private contractors that help provide services such as garbage collection and water and sewer operations.

Council is seeking someone with a BA in Public or Business Administration or related field or someone with work experience at a management level in local government as a substitute for the educational requirements.

“The successful applicant must reside in the Town following appointment,” the advertisement reads.

That requirement was one that had town residents, council members and the former mayor at odds last year when a proposed town charter change to soften that requirement was rejected 3-2 by council.

According to the advertisement, the salary will be based on qualifications and experience. Council will begin evaluating applications beginning April 1.

Without any dissent in either house, the General Assembly approved the other charter changes that were proposed by council last year, including the one that staggers the four council members’ two-year terms.

Council and the mayor’s seat are up for election in November.

The two highest vote-getters for the council seats will serve two-year terms, and the two elected council members with the fewest votes will serve one-year terms. Those two seats will be up for election again in November 2019 for two-year terms, creating the staggered terms.

The person elected mayor will serve a two-year term.

The charter changes also make the town treasurer and clerk employees of the town and makes them responsible to the town manager. The legislation also changes who appoints the town treasurer from Town Council to the town manager.

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