Wednesday, August 10, 2022

JCC Supervisors Appoint New County Administrator to Take Over in September

Bryan Hill (center) was named county administrator by the James City County Board of Supervisors at a Friday meeting. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)
Bryan Hill (center) was named county administrator by the James City County Board of Supervisors at a Friday meeting. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)

James City County appointed a new county administrator nearly nine months after firing Robert Middaugh from the post.

Bryan Hill, the current deputy administrator in Beaufort, S.C., will take over as James City County’s new administrator Sept. 8, the Board of Supervisors announced Friday.

The James City County Board of Supervisors called a special meeting for 3 p.m. Friday to appoint the county’s new administrator and host a meet-and-greet afterward. About 30 citizens, county employees and local tourism and municipal leaders turned out for the announcement.

Supervisor Jim Kennedy (Stonehouse) was unable to be at the meeting due to commitments at his New Town restaurant, but forwarded a statement for Chairwoman Mary Jones (Berkeley) to read. Kennedy expressed his full support for Hill in the statement, which echoed the other four supervisors’ sentiments.

The board voted 4-0 with Kennedy absent to hire Hill for three years at an annual starting salary of $170,000.

Hill addressed the room after his appointment, choking up as he thanked the supervisors for their confidence. He is ready to hit the ground running and excited to move to the county with his wife and three sons.

“I love James City County, every spot of it,” said Hill, who is involved with coaching youth sports in Beaufort. His family will integrate in the community, and “work as one” he said.

This will be Hill’s first job in Virginia, but he believes he is well-equipped to lead James City County into the future.

“My job is to go to bed each night without thinking about this job,” Hill said. He plans to maintain his “integrity, morality, quality and effectiveness” and to complete each task to the best of his ability so he can feel satisfied he is accomplishing good work.

Hill addresses a crowd shortly after being named county administrator as Supervisor Michael Hipple (Powhatan) watches. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)
Hill addresses a crowd shortly after being named county administrator as Supervisor Michael Hipple (Powhatan) watches. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)

Hill started working as Beaufort County’s budget analyst in February 2008 before advancing to the deputy county administrator position in January 2009. Prior to that, Hill worked as vice chancellor of finance and operations at the University of South Carolina’s campus in Beaufort/Bluffton; as director of finance for the University of Maryland’s office of information and technology; and as director of administration of the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Alfred University and a master’s from the University of Southern California. He has earned the Award for Academic Excellence from the American Association of Budget and Program Analysts, the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering Staff Award, and a Commendation from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at a celebration of its 50th anniversary.

The contract with Hill provides for up to $15,000 in moving and travelling expenses with the condition he solicits bids from three moving companies and submits the information to the county. Hill will receive $7,200 per year in automobile expenses. The county could also foot the bill for any necessary professional subscriptions, travel expenses, local civic club fees and any other expenses deemed necessary for Hill’s work.

Should Hill be terminated – under certain circumstances not related to repeated poor performance – before the end of a three-year term, the county will pay six months’ severance in a lump sum, according to the contract. Hill and the county could come to a different agreement on how the severance will be paid out.

The county will cover premiums for Hill’s health, hospitalization, surgical, vision, dental, medical and life insurance, which is the case for other county employees. Hill will also receive deferred compensation and retirement plans.

The supervisors in November fired then-county administrator Robert Middaugh on a vote of no confidence that was split along party lines. In January the board appointed the county’s deputy county administrator to the top job in a temporary role. With Doug Powell in place as acting county administrator, the board moved forward in finding a permanent replacement by contracting Colin Baenziger & Associates to aid in the job search.

Two advertisements for the position went out after the first listing garnered 54 applicants— short of the 75 or more that were expected — and the postings were pulled June 23. The total number of applicants for the position has not yet been released. The roughly six-month process of advertising, interviewing and discussing applicants, the supervisors unanimously decided Hill was the man for the job.

“It was worth – in my opinion – every second that was put into this…,” Jones said. “Mr. Hill and his family are just going to be a tremendous asset to our community.”

According to a Tuesday story on Miami Herald’s website, Hill is also among 15 candidates still in the running for the city manager job in Coral Gables, Fla. The city also contracted Colin Baenziger and Associates to lead its national search for a new city leader. Coral Gables plans to narrow down its list of candidates by Aug. 15, and hold interviews Aug. 22, the Miami Herald story reads.

Hill was not aware Friday he had been chosen as a finalist for the Coral Gables position, but said he planned to withdraw his candidacy.

Jones, who was also unaware Hill had been named a Coral Gables contender, said James City County is fortunate to have been able to hire him.

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