Rappahannock County Administrator John McCarthy announced last week that Debbie Keyser, chief administrator for the last two years in Jefferson County, W.Va., had accepted the position of assistant county administrator in Rappahannock County, home of Keyser’s father and other family members.
Because of Keyser’s experience, McCarthy said this week, he expects she will be appointed to the deputy administrator post sooner rather than later. The deputy position, unlike the assistant position, carries statutory authority. After two years of McCarthy’s requests that the new position be created, the supervisors last May included a $50,000 item in the current year’s budget to pay for six months of a deputy administrator’s salary and benefits, starting Jan. 1.
Keyser, who leaves the Jefferson County post Jan. 16, begins the new job Feb. 2. She comes with more than 20 years of experience in business management and human resources, McCarthy said in an email announcement last week, “working for a $220 million corporation and a Fortune 500 company.” Jefferson County has a population of about 55,000, and the county employs some 1,800 people.
McCarthy said of Keyser, who couldn’t be reached for comment, “Her desire is to be in Rappahannock County, where she can spend time her with father and family, and serve our citizens and treasured community entrenched in natural beauty and the heritage of four generations of her family.”
Keyser will likely initially take on some of the county’s management and finance responsibilities, McCarthy said, in line with her experience. “What little mentoring she will need will likely be in the zoning and land use area,” he said, so he hopes she’ll take on the county’s review and revision of its comprehensive plan, a project started this year and that McCarthy expects will be completed by next fall.
According to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, when Keyser took the full-time Jefferson County administrator post in 2012, her salary was $97,750.