By Lyndon German, The Hopewell News
Barring any special meeting circumstances, Aug. 8 was City Manager Mark Haley’s last meeting in City Council chambers as the top administration. During Council proceedings they honored Haley reading a proclamation of his accomplishments and going on record expressing their appreciation.
Haley has worked in the City of Hopewell for 38 years. As he will tell it, he wondered into the city working the graveyard shift at the Wastewater Renewal Facility (now the Hopewell Water Renewal facility) where he eventually became and worked as the director for 34 years.
He’s a graduate of Pennsylvania State University where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management and also attended the Senior Executive Institute’s Weldon Copper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Haley was the board member and president of many organizations including but not limited to: the Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies, the Department of Professional and Occupation Regulation (DPOR) Virginia Waters Operators Board and current president of the Beacon Theatre LLC.
The proclamation thanked Haley for being instrumental in restoring the historic Beacon to its former glory and aiding in its rise in popularity, his faithful work throughout his career and wished him much happiness in his retirement.
“Time flies,” Haley said while receiving this honor. “When I say I’ve worked for the city for 38 years it seems so surreal.”
Haley went on to say he’s had a great career with real, wonderful experiences especially the last four working with Council.
“They’re a great bunch of professionals who don’t get nearly enough credit for what they do,” the out-going city manager commented. “In fact, sometimes they’re discredited for trying but they always try and they always do their best.”
After receiving a standing ovation from city employees and residents, Haley and Mayor Jackie Shornak took their seat. He thanked the mayor for the honor and for surprising him at the beginning of the meeting jokingly admitting if it had been closer towards the end of his tenure he might shed a tear.
The mayor shared her thoughts on the city manager saying the city could not have been “in better hands” and how the administration has lost a good man within the City of Hopewell.
As the meeting trailed on through its regular proceedings, extending past its usual 10:30 p.m. end time all of council made sure to thank Haley for his years of service. Councilor Janice Denton thanked Haley for his guidance, and Councilor Anthony Zevgolis said he hoped to have another meeting before Haley’s last day in September so they’d have to see each other again.
Near the end, the council chambers was nearly empty except for a few remaining incuding Hopewell Fire Chief Donnie Hunter and Director of Hopewell Recreation and Parks Aaron Reidmiller, who stayed to see Haley’s last hoorah. After sharing kind words and memories Haley’s last words brought the room to a closing laughter.
“I’ll miss you all … a little bit,” Haley said jokingly.