TODAY'S NEWS

Page County administrator to leave his post Dec. 14

Page News and Courier
LURAY — On Friday, Dec. 14, Mark Belton will close out his 7 years as Page County Administrator. On Monday, Dec. 17, he will assume the same role for Charles County, Md.
At his request, Belton has been released early from his contract with Page County, which expires on Jan. 23, 2013, according to Johnny Woodward, Chairman of the Page County Board of Supervisors.
A press release dated Nov. 29 and posted on the official website of Charles County, announced Belton’s appointment as that county’s administrator. Belton said on Tuesday that the contract with Charles County was signed on the same day the announcement was posted.
Belton will be leaving a position that paid $90,000 a year, plus benefits, according to the terms of his current contract.
When he leaves Page County, Belton will assume a position that pays $166,647 plus benefits, according to salary schedules posted on the Charles County website.
Page County supervisors have had at least two closed meetings in recent weeks to discuss the “contract of the current county administrator,” according to meeting notices.
Woodward said no special severance agreement has been made, other than asking the county attorney to review Belton’s contract to determine what, if any, unpaid vacation or sick leave is due to him upon his departure.
Belton’s current contract allows for severance pay of up to six months if his contract is terminated by the county before it expires. The only provision in the contract concerning voluntarily resignation states that he must provide 60 days’ notice of his resignation.
Belton was first hired by Page County in 2004, and began his tenure as County Administrator on Jan. 24, 2005.
In March of this year, Page County supervisors announced they would not renew Belton’s contract when it expires next year. Since that time, they have advertised the County Administrator’s position and have interviewed four candidates, with the intention of having a new administrator hired once Belton’s contract expires on Jan. 23.
Woodward indicated on Tuesday that the field of candidates has been narrowed down to two people who will return for a second round of interviews during a closed session set for this Thursday, Dec. 6.
“These two gentlemen look very promising, but we have some additional questions for them,” Woodward said.
Depending upon the outcome of Thursday’s interviews, and the successful candidate’s availability, Woodward said it is possible that a new county administrator could be in place as soon as Belton departs.
But if that is not possible, Woodward said he will step in as Acting Administrator for the short term until the new administrator begins his duties.
“If it turns out to be longer than 60 days, we may ask William Rolfe to step in as Acting Administrator,” Woodward added. Rolfe, a retired administrator for Orange County, has been serving as acting administrator during Belton’s military leaves with the U.S. Navy Reserves.
As a Rear Admiral in the U.s. Navy Reserves, Belton is “commanding officer of a 3,700-member organization with a mission to organize, train, equip and deploy units for sea and air port cargo-handling operations and logistics support to theater commanders,” the Charles County press release states.
It also states that Belton was hired after an extensive national search based on his “29 years of leadership experience in business management and public policy in the government and non-profit sectors. His local government experience is especially comprehensive, having served as a governor-appointed member of a local board of education and as an elected member of a county’s governing body.”
Before coming to Page County in 2005, Belton served as a county administrator for Queen Anne’s County, Md., from 1999 to 2002, and worked for two years as the Assistant Secretary for Management Services at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Belton, who is a native of New Jersey, said on Tuesday that much of his personal and professional life has been spent in Maryland, including his time at the U.S. Navy Academy in Annapolis.
“I’m very delighted and excited about going to Charles County, it’s a wonderful place to live and work,” Belton said. 
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