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2 K.G. officials move on

Directors of two King George County government departments announced their resignations last week.

Donita Harper, finance director since July 2007, will become director of business and finance for Petersburg City Public Schools. Her last day is July 12.

Nicole Thompson, director of economic development since 2009, will direct the newly created economic development corporation in Lake County, Colo., about 2 hours west of Denver. She leaves July 24.

Harper’s decision was announced publicly Tuesday at the King George Board of Supervisors meeting.

The same day, another staff member, Amanda Sumiel, announced she was leaving. She later rescinded her resignation, after the county made her manager of the human resources department.

Then on Thursday, Thompson announced her departure. An advertisement for her position already had been placed on the Virginia Association of Counties website.

Harper is taking a job that puts her closer to family, while Thompson is moving to an area she’s always enjoyed visiting.

Harper lives in Chesterfield County and has driven the 70 miles to King George for six years. Her new job in Petersburg is 23 miles away from home.

Plus, her mother, who lives in Norfolk, has been in declining health. Harper told the supervisors it’s important that she work closer to home.

Each year she was finance director, the county earned certificates of excellence from the Government Finance Officers Association.

Harper also served as deputy county administrator and has sat through many board meetings and closed sessions.

Always soft-spoken, she said last week: “The main thing I will not miss about King George County are these board meetings.”

Robyn Shugart, who’s worked for the county for eight years, will be interim finance director.

Thompson has vacationed annually in Colorado, and when the chance to lead a new authority came up, “I got an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” she said.

She said she’s excited about creating a new organization and being in beautiful surroundings.

“I’m in a place in my career where I can take a little bit of a risk, and I thought I would,” she said. “I might not be able to do that in five years.”

Thompson has marketed the county’s industrial park, partnered with the Navy base at Dahlgren and developed regional alliances.

She started an annual business appreciation event, and created a brochure on how to start a business in King George and a website profiling the county’s development.

“I think we have become a stronger player in the regional economic development field,” she said.

County Administrator Travis Quesenberry praised both directors for their work.

“They both have strong commitments to public service and have served King George County well,” he said.

He will take over Thompson’s duties with the help of clerk Marcy Feltner.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

 

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