HILLSVILLE — Town Council named Retta Nichole Jackson as its new town manager during its regular meeting Monday night.
Jackson will take over the position on May 16. She is the daughter of Acting Town Manager Travis Jackson. Mayor Greg Crowder, citing the need to get approval from Retta Jackson on releasing information from her resume, publicly released few details.
He said Jackson, who was not present at the meeting, is a graduate of Virginia Tech and is currently living in Richmond, where she works in the medical field. Crowder said she has experience in grant writing and government management and plans to move to Hillsville and buy a home.
Manager Travis Jackson’s resignation, effective May 16, was accepted by the council as well with both announcements following a closed session by the council. Crowder said Retta Jackson said she would accept the position if offered it during a telephone conversation in the closed session. He said she had interviewed well earlier with the town and he found her to be personable.
“I have full confidence in the direction our town is going,” said Crowder. “We are confident the beliefs and convictions shared with Travis will help us to continue in this direction.”
He said Retta Jackson was scheduled to visit the town on Tuesday. She was elected on yes votes from Council Members Billy Walls, who made the motion to hire Jackson, and David Young, who seconded the motion. Councilman Ed Terry voted no and Greg Yonce abstained from voting. Crowder also voted yes prior to Clerk of Council Vickie Yonce pointing out his vote was out of order and the two consenting votes were all that was needed to pass the motion.
Walls stated he wanted “citizens to have someone who acknowledges them as equal to all others. Someone who shows me they care enough about our hometown to establish a home here and be a part of our community and its growth.”
He also said his confidence in the town’s growth was sufficient to “move forward with this current mayor and the hiring of a new town manager.”
In other action, Utilities Director Darrick Mayes and his team were complimented for earning the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) 2013 Excellence in Waterworks Performance Award. Travis Jackson explained the VDH program rewards water systems which have demonstrated excellence in performance and operations for treatment and distribution of drinking water to the public.
Crowder had earlier indicated the town was “honored and thrilled” to be recognized by VDH and praised the water treatment plant team for diligently working to ensure water quality for customers.
Travis Jackson reminded the council a telecommunications consultation firm would be holding a “balloon test” at 205 Mill Street in Hillsville. The balloon will demonstrate the proposed height of a cell tower so residents may see the impact on the area’s skyline. The test will be held May 3 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. with an inclement weather date the first day clear weather will permit the launch after this Saturday.
Council also approved the town joining the VA WARN program, which is designed to allow participants to provide “utility to utility response” during an emergency. Participation in the program is at no cost. The web site provides a variety of services including emergency contact numbers of members and an emergency equipment database which matches utility resources to a member’s needs.
Police Chief Greg Bolen reported to council the department would receive 13 new ballistic vests through a grant from the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is tremendous of them (Bedford County),” said Bolen, who said his grant application cited the department returning to traditional practices helped them get the vests, which typically cost $700 each. Bolen was referring to practices including increased foot patrols in the town as well as areas near interstate access.
Bolen later said the increased visibility and community service, along with routine duties with citizens, were helping the department with tips and suggestions to better serve.
“We’re a small town but we’re growing. Having grown up in the area I have a grasp of what citizens are looking for,” Bolen said. “We are letting them know we care about the town and them. Our Facebook page we started last year is also helping.”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.