Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 11, 2014

West Point commander selected as city manager

BLUEFIELD — The city Board of Directors voted Tuesday to hire the current garrison commander of West Point as Bluefield’s new city manager.

The vote to hire Col. Dane Rideout as city manager was unanimous. Rideout succeeds Jim Ferguson, who resigned as city manager in February. Rideout should be on the job by mid August, according to Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole.

“Number one, I want to commend our city management and Dennis Dillow — who is not here right now — as he agreed to serve as our interim city manager,” Cole said. “It gave us as a board the comfort to find the right candidate. We interviewed a number of people. After reviewing 75 applicants, it was apparent and obvious that Col. Dane Rideout — if he was willing to come here — was a coup for the city. His experience and credentials are impeccable.”

 Cole said Rideout was in Bluefield just this past weekend and has already located a home. Rideout didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting of the city board.

“His starting date is mid August,” Cole said. “So hopefully in two months we will have him in the city.”

Board member Michael Gibson urged all city residents to read a recent story about Rideout in the Daily Telegraph, which detailed his unique credentials.

“I think you and all of your fellow citizens will be impressed with this gentleman,” Gibson said. “He is basically the garrison commander of West Point U.S. Military Academy, which is also a city.”

“I think we have selected an exceptional candidate for city manager,” board member Chuck McGonagle said. “It’s been an extensive search. But he has excellent qualifications and we are looking forward to working with him.”

“We went through dozens and dozens of applicants,” board member Ellen Light added. “The most important thing we have to do now is work together and pull together. I for one am excited about the prospects.”

Rideout is a former enlisted Marine and a 1990 graduate of Ball State University, according to biographical information on the West Point website.

Prior to his command at West Point, Rideout served as deputy of the 14th Human Resources Sustainment Center at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to the biography. He was then assigned as the division G-1 for the 82nd Airborne Division.

“Deploying with the Division to Afghanistan as the CJTF-82/Regional Command East J-1, he was responsible for the planning, coordination and synchronization of all human resource assets,” the biography states.

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.

The biography also states that 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.

“In July 2003, Col. Rideout was selected to serve as the J-1, Special Operations Command Europe, Stuttgart, Germany,” the biography adds. “While assigned, he deployed in support of counter terrorist operations for the Summer Olympics in Greece and directed HR operations for Operation Enduring Freedom—Trans Sahara in Northern Africa.”

In other business Tuesday, the board voted 5-0 to approve a lease contract agreement with Ronald Lee for the old Bluefield Daily Telegraph building on Bland Street. The agreement, which is contingent upon the review of City Attorney Brian Cochran, calls for a $800 monthly rent with certain stated improvements to the structure, a historic landmark in the city. Lee is interested in leasing the building and has plans to remodel the entire structure and begin a homeopathic medicine business.

The board also voted Tuesday to approve a new commodity flow study in conjunction with the Rahall Appalachian Institute to study what commodities are moving in and out of Bluefield to assist with ongoing business recruitment and retention efforts in the city. The city’s cost for the study is about $6,000.

In other action, Art Riley, head of the Downtown Merchants Association, said plans are being finalized for this year’s Downtown Street Fair, which will be held on Friday, Aug. 1 and Saturday, Aug. 2. Riley said this year’s fair will include entertainment, the return of the Great American Downhill Derby, an auction to benefit the Wade Center, a dog show, an evening concert on Aug. 1, and various other activities.

Assistant City Manager Josh Cline said plans are continuing for the Wedding of the Bluefields celebration on July 12. Cline said activities will be held throughout the day, including four different bands in the park, along with the actual wedding of a local couple at 6 p.m. that evening. The wedding ceremony commemorates the 90th anniversary of the wedding of the two Bluefields.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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