Interim Town Manager Familiar With Post

Ritchie Stepped Into Role For New Market Twice Before

Posted: April 25, 2014

NEW MARKET - When Evan Vass announced in March that he was leaving his position as New Market’s town manager to become Shenandoah County assistant administrator, it wasn’t hard to find the right guy to fill the vacancy on an interim basis.

After all, Mike Ritchie has done it twice before.

Ritchie, 52, who has worked for the town for 25 years, including as public works director since 2007, also served as the interim town manager in 2008 and 2010.

Vass’ last day as town manager will be May 9. Ritchie, who will begin working as the interim town manager on May 10, said he is looking forward to it.

“It’s a challenge,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to test some new waters, and help the town out anyway I can.”

The county had been looking to fill the assistant administrator’s position since Mary Beth Price, who had served in that role, was named county administrator in August.

Vass has served as New Market’s town manager on two occasions: from November 2003 to July 2008, when he took a job as Harrisonburg’s assistant city manager. He returned to New Market in July 2010 and has held the town manager’s spot since then.

Vass will start the new position on May 12 and will make $91,342. As town manager, his salary is $85,500.

He said the transition should be easy on Ritchie because town officials are well on their way to finish preparing the next fiscal year’s budget. A public hearing on the budget will be held May 12, and Vass intends to attend.

“But there are a lot of things that Mike is going to have to step right into,” Vass said. “I’m confident that he can do it, and he knows I’m just a phone call away.”

Ritchie, for example, will be responsible for overseeing the town’s newly formed events and marketing director position held by Brittany Clem. Vass said he can’t offer Ritchie much advice because Clem’s role is still being developed.

Ritchie won’t need to manage any significant capital projects, as the streetscape and stormwater projects have been completed.

“There is no such thing as good time, but in this context there are no immediate problems; just the unknowns that occur,” Vass said.

Contact Jonathon Shacat at 574-6286 or

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