King William County administrator leaving for Essex County

KING WILLIAM — After three years of service, King William County Administrator Trenton Funkhouser has announced he is resigning.

"We've reached the point where it's a good time to let someone else captain the ship," he said in a phone interview Monday. "The day-to-day work has been rewarding, and so have some of the special projects. I've been happy to do it, but I'm happy to do something different."

Funkhouser's last day with King William is Sept. 19, just in time for him to start his new role as economic development coordinator for Essex County on Sept. 22. The new position, he explained, will give him a chance to focus on the things he enjoys most about public administration, like business development and retention.

"The new position is a chance to be a cheerleader for business as opposed to a regulator, and that's appealing to me," he said.

"I think he'll be an asset to Essex County," said District 2 Supervisor Travis Moskalski. "I think he's done an outstanding job here. He's leaving the county in much better shape than what he found it in."

The King William Board of Supervisors has not started advertising for the position yet, nor has it made a decision on an interim county administrator. District 1 Supervisor C.T. "Tom" Redd said the board will be exploring its options in the next month and hopes to have someone appointed as an interim by its Sept. 22 meeting. A consultant may be used in the search for a permanent replacement.

"It's not a quick process. Hopefully we can find someone (to fill the position full-time) in the next four to six months," Redd said. "We will require the administrator to live in the county."

In the event an interim is not hired before Funkhouser leaves, duties will be delegated among current staff.

The county administrator currently makes $103,000 a year. Funkhouser said, though, that amount could change when the board votes to advertise the position.

During Funkhouser's time with King William, the county refurbished the jailhouse wing of the old courthouse for about $25,000, enabling it to keep its status as the oldest courthouse in continuous use in the United States, and updated its emergency radio system to meet federal mandates, a $3 million project that was "testimony to the quality of work by Funkhouser, the board of supervisors, and county administration," Moskalski said.

"By looking outside the box and forging a partnership with Hanover County (on the emergency radio project) we were able to save tens of millions of dollars and beat deadline," he explained.

Moskalski said Funkhouser should also be "commended for the professional way he handled the tax dispute with the Town of West Point."

The months-long dispute arose last spring when King William eliminated a long standing split-levy tax system between the two localities.

West Point, an incorporated town within King William, filed two lawsuits in response, which resulted in a consent order from Judge Thomas Hoover requiring the governing bodies to work together to resolve the dispute.

An agreement was finally reached earlier this year in the form of a special tax legislation that allows for the split-levy tax system and authorizes a special tax district within the county for the purpose of providing funding to King William schools.

In turn, West Point is responsible for collecting taxes to fund the operation of its own school division.

Funkhouser said the contentious dispute was not a factor in his decision to resign.

"I've simply reached a point in my career where I want to try something different," he said.

Prior to his role as county administrator for King William, Funkhouser was West Point's town manager for seven years.

"We're going to miss him at the county," said Redd. "It was good having someone with his experience and his relationship with the town."

Lawson can be reached at 804-843-2284.