Although Travis Jackson will step down as Hillsville’s town manager at the end of the month, that doesn’t mean he’s saying goodbye just yet. Instead, Jackson will assume the role of acting town manager in order to help keep the town on a progressive track while the search begins to find someone to man the position full time.
It was reported in another publication last week that Jackson had resigned the previous week to accept the post of executive director of the Wythe County Community Hospital Foundation, but he said that wasn’t accurate.
“I didn’t resign, but I did I contact town council some time ago to let them know I was considering this and gave them notice,” said Jackson, who didn’t expect the news to leak out so soon. “I’ve been waiting for the foundation to issue a press release before I made anything public, but somehow it got out.”
Jackson said he will continue to oversee the many initiatives already underway; he just won’t be in Hillsville “on a daily basis.”
“Until the new town manager is named, I’ll be around. I’ll operate in the background and help the council move forward with the initiatives we started,” said Jackson, who called his decision a difficult one. “This isn’t something I expected; I hadn’t planned to make another change. It was a very difficult decision because I have a passion for the foundation, as well as for Hillsville.”
During his time as area director for USDA, Rural Development office in Wytheville, Jackson served as chairman of the board for the Wythe County Community Hospital Foundation. In fact, he brokered a partnership with LifePoint for a prepaid lease that allowed the foundation’s formation.
“The foundation does so much good for Wythe and Bland counties. For example, any child who graduates high school gets an opportunity to get a two-year education at Wytheville Community College at no cost,” he said.
Jackson emphasized that his leaving is solely due to the opportunity to lead the foundation.
“It has nothing to do with any person or situation,” he said. “Everything we’ve done, as a council, has been by unanimous vote. I’m happy and pleased with the support I get from town council. They really want to help and lead the town in a positive direction.”
However, his feelings for the people of Hillsville go much deeper than that.
“The people of Hillsville have been nothing but supportive, and the town staff will be my extended family for life,” he said.
Michael Howlett can be contacted at 276-728-7311 or on Twitter@MikeEHowlett