By LAINE GRIFFIN
ELKTON — Kim Alexander is ready to get to know Elkton and all it has to offer.
On May 1, Alexander will begin her position as Elkton’s new town manager.
“I think this is a great point of time for the town of Elkton,” Alexander, 41, of Harrisonburg, said in an interview Monday. “There seems to be a lot of things changing — there’s a big corner to be turned, and they are moving into a positive direction and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Town Council unanimously voted to hire Alexander for the job on April 15 with an annual salary of $65,000, not including benefits. The position had been vacant since February 2016, though former Mayor Wayne Printz had been serving as acting town manager prior to losing his re-election bid in November. This isn’t Alexander’s first time working in the world of local government.
From 2009-11, she was the town manager in Dumfries and from 2011-13 she served as Culpeper’s town manager. Most recently, from 2014-17, Alexander was town manager at the city of Manassas Park.
Alexander also has experience with state politics, as she served under U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and former Gov. Jim Gilmore, a Republican.
“It’s very meaningful work,” she said. “But when I discovered local government, I enjoyed it so much more because you could see the difference it made in the community.”
Elkton Mayor Josh Gooden said Alexander will be an asset to the town because of her years of local government experience.
“She will be very helpful with layout out short-term and long term capital projects to benefit the community,” Gooden said.
He said her prior knowledge of the Elkton community, regarding having family in the area, will also be an asset Alexander said she has cousins, sisters-and brothers-in law, nieces and nephews who live in the area.
Alexander first began living in Harrisonburg in 1995, when she began college at James Madison University. She graduated in 2000 with a bachelor of arts in international affairs.
“I’ve loved being in the area because I have a strong understanding of the politics of a community, which can be the hardest part of the job,” Alexander said.
In a small community, there are a lot of competing priorities and different viewpoints, she said.
“When you have that many different people on council and in the community, you need to know who all the players are,” she said. “That’s what I’m going to focus on the first few months — understanding the community.”
But that’s not all she’ll be focusing on when she steps into her new role.
With the 2019-20 fiscal year budget fast approaching, Alexander said, her most urgent priority is learning the budget since it has to be adopted before July 1.
“I think I also need to have some discussions with the Town Council before looking into making any changes in the town,” she said, adding that she will be meeting with the town attorney, Burns Earle, on Wednesday.
“I think it’s important to meet with the town attorney to go over the big town projects, such as the water and sewer,” she said. “I also want to know what is on council’s list.”
Alexander said she is looking forward to working with Elkton’s Town Council because after interviewing, “they seemed really great.”
Although it is a fairly new council, with Gooden taking over as mayor in January after defeating Printz in the November election, she said she got a “really good vibe from them.”
“I’ve interviewed in other places before but didn’t get that [feeling], but I feel like it was a really good fit,” she said. “They all have the best interest of the town at heart.”