Enquirer Herald

York County Manager Baker takes similar job in Virginia


York County Manager Jim Baker has accepted a similar job in Virginia.

Baker found out last month that he was a finalist for the city manager position in Chesapeake, Va.

“My tenure with York County has been, overall, a wonderful experience,” Baker said in an email announcing his decision Tuesday night.

“I feel we have accomplished a great deal together during the last five and a half years and I will very much miss all my friends, colleagues and co-workers here. It will be very difficult to say goodbye.”

Baker said his resignation as county manager would be forthcoming. His last day will be Jan. 11, he said in the email.

Chesapeake is a city of about 225,000 residents, slightly smaller in population than York County. It is located to the west of Virginia Beach.

About half of the city budget of more than $900 million is allocated to schools.

Baker said the Chesapeake job will be “a new challenge” and a place where he can offer “some worthwhile and relevant experience.”

“Most importantly, I think this opportunity is in the best interests of my family and I will be able to make a real difference there,” he said.

York County hired Baker in 2007 after he held a similar position in St. Louis County, Mo.

Baker said he and his wife, Susan, plan to keep the home they built in York County for retirement. They also have a son attending Winthrop University, so they’ll still be “invested” in the county, “albeit from a greater distance.”

It’s the second time Baker has been the finalist for a similar job elsewhere. He also was selected last year as a finalist for a similar job in Sarasota County, Fla.

Councilmen react

York County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell said Baker “will be missed.”

“Jim’s done a lot of positive things for York County, especially when it comes to budget matters,” Blackwell said. “He’s been a great asset in putting York County on very solid financial footing. He’s been a good mentor for me” in Blackwell’s first two years on council, he said.

Councilman Bump Roddey said he was “on standby for something to happen.”

“It’s going to be tough” without Baker, he said. “The county will pay a price in the interim until things get settled with a new county manager.”

“He’s an extreme talent, very knowledgeable,” and has “had the interest of York County at heart. We’re going to miss him.”