The Town of Lovettsville won’t see a permanent town manager for at least another six months.
According to Mayor Bob Zoldos, the town has not begun searching for a new town manager and probably won’t until early next summer. Sam Finz has been the interim town manager since Laszlo Palko resigned in May.
Zoldos said the town’s May 2018 election date is the reason council members want to hold off. The mayor’s post and three council seats will be on the ballot.
“Great candidates for town manager may shy away from our town when an election is near,” he said.
It was Finz who initially suggested postponing the search for town manager until after elections. Finz said this would give any newly elected councilmembers the chance to determine whether he should stay or not.
“It’s really the council’s decision, not mine,” he said.
In this case, elections for the seats held by Zoldos, Vice Mayor Tiffany Carder and Councilmembers Kimberly Allar and Nate Fonatine will be held May 1 next year.
Finz, a municipal government consultant and Philomont resident, was appointed as interim town manager when Palko left earlier this year to serve as city manager of Manassas Park. This is the third time Finz has held the interim position. His first stint was from 2006-2007 and again after Keith Markel left to serve as deputy town administrator in Leesburg in 2014.
Before ever acting in the role, Finz was retained by the town to help find and hire every town manager Lovettsville has seen.
According to Finz it was Palko who called six months ago to ask if he would consider coming back to the town.
“I’m glad that people want me to be of help,” he said. “I’m pleased to do it.”
However, Finz doesn’t want to fill the position of town manager. He just wants to help the town find a new one.
“I do not wish to become the permanent town manager because I’m retired and I like this role at this stage of my life much better,” he said. “I’ll stay here as long as necessary until everyone feels comfortable with moving on to the next level.”
For now, Zoldos is content with Finz in the position.
“I personally hope that Sam stays with us forever,” he said. “He brings incredible wisdom and experience to our small town.”
Finz said the next step in the search process would be to circulate a recruitment package to municipal government organizations, including the Virginia Municipal League and the International City Management Association. Upon receiving résumés, Finz would recommend to council about 10 candidates that most closely meet position requirements. The council will then select about five for interview.
While Finz expects these steps to begin in May, he is prepared to stay through July.