Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

June 12, 2014

City manager: Rideout could help Bluefield

— — The unanimous vote by the Bluefield Board of Directors to hire Col. Dane Rideout — the current garrison commander of West Point — as the new city manager of Nature’s Air Conditioned City appears to be a wise decision. A strong leader is needed to help address chronic problems in the city, and to help with jump-starting renewed growth in Bluefield. And Rideout could be just the man to make that happen.

Rideout comes to the city with an impressive background. The role of a garrison commander is similar to that of a city manager in that they are generally in charge of a facility and its day-to-day operations. And at West Point Rideout was responsible for overseeing facilities and services for more than 14,000 military personnel, civilian employees and family members. He is expected to begin work as the city manager of Bluefield in mid-August, and has already found a home in the Bluefield area, according to Mayor Tom Cole.

Cole is calling the hiring of Rideout an “investment” in the future of Bluefield. Rideout succeeds Jim Ferguson, who resigned as city manager in February. Dennis Dillow, the current chief of police in Bluefield, had been serving as interim city manager with help from Assistant City Manager Josh Cline.

Rideout is a former enlisted Marine and a 1990 graduate of Ball State University. Prior to his command at West Point, he served as deputy of the 14th Human Resources Sustainment Center at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to his West Point biography. He was then assigned as the division G-1 for the 82nd Airborne Division. While deploying with the division to Afghanistan as the CJTF-82/Regional Command East J-1, Rideout was responsible for the planning, coordination and synchronization of all human resource assets. And in 2002, Rideout was deployed as the J-1 for Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force — North, and by early 2003 was on the ground in Northern Iraq supporting combat operations across the Iraq northern front. He also deployed in support of counter terrorist operations for the Summer Olympics in Greece and directed human resource operations for Operation Enduring Freedom — Trans Sahara in Northern Africa.

Cole correctly notes that Rideout’s experience and credentials are “impeccable.” He would appear to be a good fit for the city manager job.

He does face a tough job ahead — as there are many challenges and great needs facing Bluefield. A declining population, job losses and the critical need for new economic development projects are at the top of the list. And many important decisions also will have to be made in the months ahead, including how to proceed with the long-planned Colonial Intermodal Center/Roundhouse Square project. But we believe Rideout is more than qualified to help the board make these important decisions.

 We join the Bluefield Board of Directors in welcoming Rideout to Bluefield, and wish him the best of luck with the job ahead.

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