Dumfries to lose fifth town manager in past 10 years

The town of Dumfries is once again looking for a new town manager.

After Ron Waller, 64, handed his letter of retirement to the Dumfries Town Council recently, the council decided Tuesday to begin advertising the position.

“We’ve begun talking about the transition,” said Dumfries Mayor Melvin “Mel” Bray.

If a new manager is not hired by the time Waller leaves in January, “I’m going to do the job,” Bray said.

Neither in his letter nor during an interview this week did Waller state his reason for retiring at this time.

“I don’t want to give a reason,” he said.

Searching for a new town manager is a familiar predicament for the town of Dumfries.

Waller’s departure will mark the fifth town manager to vacate the post in the last 10 years. Of those other managers, two were fired and two resigned.

The latest to resign was Mike Riley. The town council, during a flurry of meetings in August and September 2000, tried to fire Riley twice before he eventually resigned.

Riley held the position for 21 months, the same length of time that Waller will have held the job.

Waller, who started the job in April 2001, gave Jan. 19, 2003 as the date of his retirement.

“This was unexpected by everybody,” Bray said. “We tried to talk him out of it but he said he thought it was the best thing to do at this time.

“This has caught all of us off guard,” Bray said.

After Riley left, then Mayor Christopher Brown filled in as manager until the town located an interim town manager and a town manager consultant to take over the position as well as to locate a permanent replacement.

Neither of those men are available to help out the town again, Bray said.

The town has had problems in the past attracting many applicants to the job due to often quarrelsome relationships between members of the council and past town managers.

Bray said he does not believe the same set of circumstance still exist.

“I think it will be OK. Mr. Waller is retiring, [not resigning] and this council is working together,” Bray said. “I think people are seeing there is less turmoil now.

“It might be easier now to get a town manager,” Bray said.

Staff writer Aileen Streng can be reached at (703) 878-8010.

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