New Market names new planner

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

NEW MARKET – The council and the planning commission welcomed New Market’s new planner on Monday evening.

Town Manager Mike Ritchie introduced Alex Berryman during the Finance and Personnel Committee meeting, and the Planning Commission welcomed him again during its meeting after council adjourned.

He started his new job on June 1 at a starting salary of $42,500 per year, Ritchie said.

Berryman, 24, replaces former planner and zoning administrator Chad Neese, who left the position on Feb. 20 to attend graduate school.

Berryman graduated from Virginia Tech with a master’s in urban and regional planning in May. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Roanoke College in 2015.

Berryman grew up in Currituck County, N.C. While attending Roanoke College, he worked for former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in Washington, D.C.

She was elected in 2008 and defeated in her re-election campaign by Republican Thom Tillis in 2014.

After that experience, Berryman was glad for the chance to work in local politics.

“The stakes are a lot lower and there are a lot more opportunities,” he said Monday evening.

He hopes to hit the ground running in New Market, starting with assisting council in mapping out future economic development opportunities for the town.

“I hope to work with Councilman [Peter] Hughes with the survey results coming up,” he said, referring to questionnaires about the town’s economy that residents answered during the winter.

Council and volunteers have spent the spring analyzing the results in an attempt to turn them into an action plan.

“Also the town’s Comprehensive Plan review is coming up,” Berryman added. “We do that every five years.”

During the committee meeting, Ritchie said that Berryman’s hiring, along with those of two new maintenance workers, brings the town back to a full staff for the first time in six months.

“He was worth the wait,” Ritchie said.

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