Grottoes Man Tapped For Top Job
Jeff Nicely To Start Next Month As Town Manager
Posted: January 24, 2013
When Jeff Nicely ventured into his new office Tuesday, he realized it served as one of his elementary school classrooms decades ago.
Nicely, who will start as the town manager Feb. 4, has deep roots in Grottoes, one of the many reasons Town Council members gave for choosing him.
In a 5-1 vote, council selected Nicely, 41, over two other candidates at its regular meeting Jan. 14. Councilman Mark Sterling cast the sole dissenting vote.
Sterling could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but other council members cited various reasons for their votes, including Nicely’s vested interest in the town.
“He has always lived in Grottoes, so his ties are very strong, which is something that we really want,” said Councilman John Funk. “He’s somebody we hope will be around for a long time.”
After explaining that Nicely knows the town well, Councilwoman Emily Holloway added that he “shows a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of knowledge and a desire to carry on the great things that are happening in Grottoes.”
As town manager, Nicely will oversee about 20 employees and a current budget of roughly $2.6 million.
He fills a slot that’s been vacant since Oct. 9, when former Town Manager Avery Daugherty stepped down just 16 months after taking the position.
Daugherty submitted a resignation letter the day after a closed-session council meeting and never reported back to work. He and council members were tight-lipped about what led to his departure.
Daugherty, 25 at the time of hire, came to the central Valley from Suffolk. He started with an annual salary of $43,000; Nicely will start at $50,000.
Without going into details about his predecessor, Nicely did speak to their differences.
“I have the knowledge of the town, for sure. I know all of the streets, and I know a lot of the residents. [That’s] a lot of the learning curve that I won’t have,” he said.
Nicely worked in Grottoes’ maintenance department while earning his associate degree in mechanical design at Blue Ridge Community College in nearby Weyers Cave.
After graduating, he worked as a designer for McQuay International’s Verona office for seven years before becoming an engineering technician for the city of Staunton for the past 13 years.
Nicely, who grew up on Second Street in Grottoes and now lives on Fifth Street, married his high school sweetheart, Rhonda, in 1994. They have two sons, Dylan, 13, and Dalton, 9.
He’s excited to be closer to home and doesn’t plan to leave his new position before retirement.
“I can’t see myself leaving this job,” he said. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long and successful career. [I plan to] eventually retire from here.”
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