After ten months of searching for a new town manager, Christiansburg ended up hiring from within, naming Interim Town Manager Randy Wingfield as the permanent replacement for the position.
The town council voted 6-0 at its Tuesday meeting to award the 20-year town employee the position after a national search that included help from the Richmond-based hiring firm Springsted|Waters.
The town was thought to have been close to filling the position in October, but announced in November that it was reopening its search.
At the time, Mayor Michael Barber and council members said that finding the perfect candidate was the main priority and that rushing the process was not in the town’s best interest.
Wingfield was a finalist in the first search, but the town decided to reopen the search in order to explore all of its options according to the mayor.
Barber explained how the council came to decide that Wingfield was the person for the job in Tuesday’s press release.
“Randy has handled a truly impressive amount of work by himself over the past year, and while we advertised the position and interviewed several candidates, Randy continued to rise to the top each time,” Barber said. “We did our due diligence searching for the next leader of this town, and we couldn’t be more confident that Randy is the right person for the job.”
Barber told the News Messenger that Wingfield was instrumental in getting a deal done to revive the mostly-abandoned Marketplace Shopping Center across from the NRV mall, something that only strengthened the council’s confidence in him.
“The developers are going to invest $30 million to revive that shopping center and Randy played a pivotal role in that,” Barber said.
Town spokesperson Mellissa Demmitt said that the second search cost almost double what the first search did.
“The initial search ended up costing $10,000, which the town has already paid to Springsted,” Demmit wrote in an email. “After council re-initiated the search, they signed a contract for $19,500. The town has paid $5,850 of that amount so far. So, in total, at this point in time, for this search, the town has paid $15,850 to Springsted.”
Barber said that spending the money was not too much of a burden on the town because “the position has been vacant for almost a year, which means there is that amount of money that has not been spent on the manager’s salary.”
Demmitt said previously that the hiring process began with Springsted screening and providing assessments of the applicants for the town council to review. The group also crafted the interview questions and coordinated the interview format in conjunction with the council.
Members of the council took Springsted’s applicant evaluations under advisement and determined which applicants they wanted to interview. After initial interviews, council reached consensus regarding their top interviewees, and Springsted coordinated the final-round interviews.
The six council members conducted final interviews last Friday and were ready to make a decision at Tuesday’s meeting.
Wingfield said that he was not bothered when the town council reopened the search and understood that it had to do what it thought was best for the locality.
“Christiansburg is my home and where I’ve raised my children. For almost 20 years, I have been committed to enhancing the quality of life for its residents and have dedicated myself to smart, progressive growth within town limits,” Wingfield said in the town’s press release. “I am excited to take on this new challenge and continue working with the town’s excellent staff. We have a lot of momentum, and I’m ready to capitalize on that and keep it going. I appreciate all of the support I have received from council, staff and the community.”
Wingfield attended Virginia Tech, receiving an undergraduate degree in business management and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, with a concentration in economic and community development.
He also has a graduate certificate in local government management from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the Town of Christiansburg, Wingfield worked as a transportation planner for the West Piedmont Planning District Commission in Martinsville, as a private consultant for Richmond County, and as an environmental planner and computer systems specialist for Northern Neck Planning District Commission in Callao.
His appointment to the town manager position is effective March 12 to allow for contract negotiations and the pre-employment process. His salary as town manager is to be determined pending contract negotiations.
Wingfield’s current salary is $130,000, up from $110,000 when he took over as interim town manager last April, following former town manager Steve Biggs’ death.
Wingfield will be in charge of hiring a new assistant town manager. He said that he anticipates the job being advertised shortly after March 12.