Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 16, 2012

New leadership

Ferguson, Donahue new city managers


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Congratulations are in order for long-time Bluefield businessman Jim Ferguson, as well as long-time city of Princeton employee Wanda Donahue, on their individual city manager appointments in Bluefield and Princeton.

The Bluefield Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to hire Ferguson as city manager. He replaces Andy Merriman, who resigned from the post earlier this year, and Brian Cochran and Patrick McKinney, who both previously served as interim city managers. Cochran continues to serve as the city’s attorney and McKinney continues to serve as the director of the Bluefield Area Transit.

Ferguson, 60, is currently vice president of operations and facilities for Mountain Star LLC, a franchise company that operates Hardee’s restaurants in southern West Virginia. Ferguson’s last day with Mountain Star LLC will be Sept. 17. He comes to the city manager job with extensive management experience and community involvement. It’s no secret that Ferguson is a fan and a big supporter of the region, and the city of Bluefield in particular. He appears to be an ideal candidate for the city manager job. Ferguson said he applied for the city manager position because he felt it was time for a change in his life.

“First of all, I’m very excited to serve the city of Bluefield as city manager and eager to start working with the department heads and getting to know all the city’s employees,” Ferguson said last week. “I can’t think of a better place to live than Bluefield, W.Va.”

  Ferguson began his career in the food service industry as a member of the management team that opened the first Hardee’s restaurant in West Virginia. Many of his contributions led to the growth of Dermox, Inc. of W.Va. One restaurant that was opened in Bluefield became a chain of 45 Hardee’s in West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia.

Ferguson has also coached two Bluefield junior and senior basketball league championship teams and was presented an award by the Mountaineer Athletic Club. He was named the Rotarian of the Year in 2009 by the Bluefield Rotary Club, and received the Spirit of the Rotary District 7550 Award in 2012. The city of Bluefield presented Ferguson with the Business Excellence Award in 2002. He is active with Toys for Tots, the West Virginia Special Olympics, the Salvation Army and other civic organizations.

Donahue has been tapped as the interim city manager of Princeton. She replaces long-time City Manager Wayne Shumate, who is retiring effective Sept. 30. Donahue currently serves as the city’s human resources manager

The Princeton City Council voted unanimously last week to approve Donahue’s appointment as interim city manager. She has worked for the city for 38 years.

“I want to thank the council for this opportunity,” Donahue said last week, adding that the city’s employees appreciated what Shumate accomplished for the city while he was its manager.

We applaud Shumate for his years of service to the city of Princeton, which has remained strong and vibrant under his tenure as city manager. Given her years of experience and loyalty to the city of Princeton, Donahue should do a good job in helping to continue the positive progress accomplished in the city under Shumate.

We congratulate both Donahue and Ferguson on their respective appointments, and wish them the best of luck in the city manager posts.