TAZEWELL, Va. — Pat Green had no ambition to be Tazewell County Administrator when she graduated from Southwest Virginia Community College.
“I had to start somewhere,” the retiring administrator said of her first job. “I started with the county after graduating from Southwest (in 1974) and I have worked here ever since.”
But on June 1, Green, 63, is leaving the job behind, mainly to spend more time with her family and pursue other interests.
A Richlands High School graduate, Green said she has “grown up on the job” in different positions, and worked under many county administrators, starting with W.J. “Bill” Hankins.
Although she was promoted to assistant county administrator in 2002 and had served as interim administrator three times, it wasn’t until 2014, while serving once more as interim administrator, that she applied for the job.
“I was ready, and it was the only time I applied,” she said.
When her two-year contract was renewed last month, Green told the board of supervisors of her retirement.
“I am glad I got the opportunity to do this job before I retired,” she said. “It’s’ been very rewarding.”
It’s been a busy one as well.
Green, who lives in Bluefield, Va., said the most rewarding thing about it is seeing a project come to fruition and working with all the people in different local, state and sometimes federal agencies along the way.
“It is rewarding to do that and getting a project done,” she said.
Those projects (either finished or in the process) during her tenure include an adult day care facility at Falls Mills, a veterans’ clinic in Tazewell, a major innovative wastewater treatment facility at Cavitt’s Creek, a health clinic in Tazewell that provides health care at reduced costs to residents with no insurance, and a study working with Virginia Tech on radon in the county.
A new animal shelter is also on the way, she said, replacing the one at the landfill.
“It will be behind Camp Joy (off U.S. 460),” she said. “We are hoping to finish it this year.”
Green said a new shelter has been needed a long time and the county owns a building there that is being renovated.
“There will be more room and a lot nicer facility for the animals and the people who work there,” she said. “It will be a very nice facility.”
Green has always emphasized the importance of tourism.
“Tourism has grown in the last few years since I have been in this position, with ATVs (Spearhead Trail System) and the Back of the Dragon (Rt. 16 to Marion that attracts thousands of bikers from all over the country),” she said. “It is an important piece of our economic development.”
Green has also been involved in bringing in experts to evaluate how the county is doing and how improvements can be made, from enhancing the county’s website to workforce development to new concepts in building communities.
One of the recent economic development projects she has been involved in is Dominion Energy’s proposal to possibly build a $2 billion hydroelectric pump storage facility on East River Mountain, bringing about 2,000 jobs during the five-year construction phase and more than $1.2 million in annual tax revenue to the county once it is finished.
If Tazewell County is chosen for the project, a decision that may be made within the next few months, Green said it will “significantly” improve county finances and help alleviate some of the tax burden on residents.
All of these projects have been exciting, she said, but one of the highlights of her tenure as administrator was a trip to Israel in 2015.
She was among a contingent of officials to make the trip as part of an initiative to work with the country on economic development initiatives.
“Who would have thought you would be taking a trip like that with the job,” she said. “It was exciting.”
The results have been exciting as well.
The Cavitt’s Creek wastewater treatment facility was designed by an Israeli company and is already being eyed for projects in McDowell County because it is a self-contained, cost-effective system that is used in rural areas for individual communities.
Tazewell County may eventually get a manufacturing facility related to the system.
Green also said Project Jonah is still in the works, another Israeli/Tazewell Country project that may bring a fish farm to the county that will employ as many as 400 people.
An announcement on that project could be made this year.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work for Tazewell County and to serve as county administrator. I’m sure the county will continue to move forward in a positive direction,” Green said. “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life that will include time well spent with my family and friends.”
“Oh, what a loss for our county,” said Supervisors Chair Maggie Asbury. “But we were not surprised, she had actually shared with our board when she took the county administrator position in 2015 that she planned to retire in two to three years.”
Asbury said she is happy for Green, but she will be missed.
“Pat spent over 43 years of her life serving our county,” she said. “During these years she served all of us with the utmost integrity, efficiency and honesty. Her dedication to our citizens and this county will be truly missed.”
County Attorney Eric Young, who will serve as interim administrator for the rest of 2018, said Green has always remained focus on the county and its residents.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Pat for nearly 14 years,” he said. “No matter what issues swirl around us, Pat always keeps her eyes on what is best for Tazewell County’s residents.”
Young, 46, is a Tazewell native and long time resident. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emory & Henry College in 1993, majoring in political science and economics, and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1996.
Young has worked closely with the county administrator and the board for 12 years, as well as many county authorities and agencies. He will continue to serve as county attorney while acting as interim administrator.
Contact Charles Boothe at email@example.com.