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Albemarle County Receives Community Feedback on County Executive Search

Albemarle County is in the process of recruiting and selecting the ideal candidate for the role of County Executive. Given the impact that this position has on our community, the Board of Supervisors is very eager to hear from community members and stakeholders about what characteristics are most important for an individual in this role. To that end, we asked the community to provide their input in the form of a survey, which was available to take online, via phone, and hardcopy from April 5 – April 19, 2017.

The survey included 29 candidate attributes, which respondents ranked in order of importance, as well as voluntary questions on demographics and an opportunity to provide additional comments. The survey received 198 total responses from County residents, County employees, and individuals who work in the County. Responses from the survey will be incorporated into the selection and interview process.

Of the 29 attributes that respondents were asked to rank, the characteristics that were categorized as most important included personal and professional ethics and integrity (overwhelmingly); vision and future orientation; ability to negotiate and protect the County’s interests; commitment to intergovernmental cooperation; relationship building; and experience in budgeting and financial sustainability. Those attributes ranked as least important included private sector experience; experience as a chief executive as opposed to assistant or deputy; a graduate academic degree; and county vs. city, state or federal management experience.

A recurring theme in the comments was the desire for a candidate with local knowledge, a commitment to high-performing organization (HPO) principles, who can drive growth in a stable manner.  Respondents were divided on the issue of growth, with some desiring more and others wanting to curb growth and focus on improving existing infrastructure and individual communities. The comments identified the desire for a candidate willing to protect the historical identity of Albemarle County while also embracing some aspects of modernization and innovation. Several respondents voiced their desire for a strong leader, who can compromise and maintain unity without being overly passive. Overall, people appear to want a County Executive who is able to balance the needs of the rural and urban communities, while creating an environment that is friendly towards existing and prospective business enterprises. They want an enthusiastic leader who has strong, concise communication skills and an empathetic approach.

We believe that the community's input is important to our goal of hiring the best possible individual to serve the County in this key leadership position. The information we gained from this survey has been used in the development of a recruitment brochure, and will also be helpful when the County begins evaluating and interviewing candidates. The complete survey results are available to download at Thank you for your interest in this important community process.

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