A face familiar in Lynchburg’s City Hall is set to serve in a new role.
Lynchburg’s Deputy City Manager Bonnie Svrcek was selected by City Council on Tuesday to be the next city manager.
Svrcek will succeed Kimball Payne, who has served as city manager since 2001 and is set to retire June 30.
The city received more than 30 applications following a nationwide search to select Payne’s successor. Following a closed session Tuesday, council unanimously approved a motion to hire Svrcek as the next city manager. According to Mayor Michael Gillette, the details of Svrcek’s contract will be presented to council for final approval at a later date.
“We are absolutely convinced without a doubt that she will be a phenomenal city manager; that she has a set of experiences, training, [and] life history that will allow her to excel in this position,” Gillette said.
Svrcek was appointed as deputy city manager in 1999. Prior to that role, she served as assistant town manager in Blacksburg. She has bachelor’s degree in housing and applied design from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.
After the announcement, Svrcek said she was overwhelmed and humbled.
“I’ve worked to be a city manager throughout my entire career, and to see it happening, it really is very emotional,” she said.
Svrcek listed three priorities for her tenure as city manager — continuing to make Lynchburg “the heart of the region” and building on the vibrancy of downtown; tackling poverty with a focus on community wealth building; and to build an “extraordinary” team of employees in city leadership positions.
Svrcek also will be the first woman to serve as a city manager in Lynchburg. After the meeting, she noted in 2012, 13 percent of chief administrative officers were women — the same percentage of women to hold those positions in 1980.
During her time as president of the International City/County Management Association, Svrcek said she convened a group of women from around the country to create a taskforce, which culminated an organization called the League of Women in Government. One of the league’s goals is to mentor younger women in order to increase the number of women in executive roles.
Payne said Svrcek’s ascension to city manager is “perfect.”
“It’s great. I’m thrilled. Thrilled for her and thrilled for the city,” Payne said.
In other news, City Council approved the fiscal year 2017 budget during a first reading Tuesday.
The $352 million spending plan does not include tax increases.
Lynchburg City Schools is set to receive local funding of $40.8 million for operating purposes. That amount reflects a reduction of $327,627 from the proposed funds per a prior council action.
The budget was approved through multiple resolutions. A motion to approve the general fund operating budget was approved 6-1 with Councilman Jeff Helgeson opposing. In his comments, Helgeson said he was voting against the budget because he would like to see the city’s taxes lowered.
A motion to approve the schools operating budget also was approved 6-1 with Councilman Jeff Helgeson opposing.
The budget will go before council for a second reading at a later meeting. The budget will take effect July 1.