For the fourth time in a little more than a year, the Town of Lovettsville has a new top administrator.
The Town Council on Monday voted unanimously to appoint Larry Hughes as interim town manager, following the July 6 retirement of Sam Finz.
Hughes, 77, started work this Tuesday and will remain in the role until at least Nov. 7, working about 25 hours each week. His top priorities are to help the staff and council members begin the fiscal year 2020 budget process and to recruit the town’s fifth permanent town manager.
“The Town Council and I are very excited to work with Mr. Hughes on a number of very important priorities,” said Mayor Nate Fontaine. “His expertise and engagement will be an outstanding addition to the town staff.”
Hughes said he would be working to create a budget process calendar, to merge the town staff and Town Council’s priorities, and to get an advertisement for the town manager position posted this month. He said that he might recommend to the Town Council that it bring in a recruiting firm to handle that process and that a hire could be made by November.
Hughes’ background in local government includes stints serving as the deputy county executive for Prince William County and as the budget director for the City Manager’s Office in Richmond. He has also served in interim roles in Stafford and Fauquier counties, the Town of Dumfries and the City of Mount Rainier, MD.
In 2012, Hughes retired from his post as the city manager of Manassas after 13 years. During that time, he helped the city develop its $4.5 million City Square Project and create the Department of Fire and Rescue. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.
Hughes is filling a role that was held by Lazlo Palko from December 2014 to May 2017. Following Palko’s resignation, it was Finz who acted in the role on an interim basis before being named the town’s fourth permanent town manager last December. Assistant Town Manager Harriet West filled in as interim town manager when Finz retired last month.
Working as a consultant for the town since 2005, Finz has helped the town hire every town manager it’s ever had. Although he won’t be involved in the process this time around, he did help the town hire Hughes by talking him through the job’s responsibilities.
In addition to helping staff close out the fiscal year 2018 budget, Finz said he would be available to Hughes and West if they need any help during the coming months. “[Finz is] very knowledgeable,” Hughes said.
Lovettsville isn’t the only town in Loudoun to experience changes within the ranks of is senor staffing in the past year. Within the past seven months, Purcellville has seen two people fill its town manager role, with John Anzivino doing so on an interim basis from December to April and David Mekarski taking over full time upon Anzivino’s departure.
In Middleburg, Town Administrator Martha Semmes announced in June that she would retire at the end of 2018, after eight years on the job.