Staunton’s City Manager

A city manager is an official appointed as the administrative manager of a city, and Staunton was the first city in the world to adopt a city manager form of government. Yesterday’s Daily News Leader had an interesting article on Stephen F. Owen, Staunton’s current city manager. Owen has just completed his first month on the job, and the article discusses how he’s handled the transition from Herndon and what he expects to do in the near future.

Owen said that so far he has only had to deal with “a man angry about a parking ticket and a lady concerned about a cat in a tree.” He is enjoying the slow-paced community, and he’s noticed several differences between Staunton and Herndon. “[In Staunton] if you decide to fix a sidewalk, you just fix it,” he said. “You don’t study it for three years.”

The new city manager will lead Staunton’s initiative to rejuvenate
neighborhoods outside of the downtown area. Staunton plans to invest in alleys, sewers and new homes in the “Newtown” district.

Owen is following one of Staunton’s most successful city managers, Bob Stripling.
Stripling’s five-year tenure was highlighted by economic development and investment in Staunton’s downtown. He’ll probably be remembered most for renovating the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, overseeing the trolley system, and pushing for wireless Internet access in the downtown district.

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