By Randy Arrington
LURAY — During its Jan. 13 meeting, the Luray Council ended the evening by heading into closed session to discuss the performance of Town Manager Steve Burke.
The manager’s two-year contract that began with his hiring in March 2018, reaches the end of its term at the end of February. During the closed session, the council considered an updated draft agreement for a one-year contract with Burke, with an automatic extension of one year unless either party decides to withdraw from the agreement.
Prior to arriving in Luray, Burke served as town manager in Front Royal for about six years and the public works director in Manassas for 18 months.
Burke says his time here has been productive and rewarding.
“The [last two years] have been great,” he said. “The staff is incredible, the council is receptive and we’ve really made some progress on important issues.”
The town manager pointed to the completion of the Main Street Bridge project as a major accomplishment for the town, as well as the progress on plans for Jenkins Hall, a new facility to house classes and programs of Lord Fairfax Community College. The regional community college hopes to begin classes at the site in 2021. Burke also noted new programs and events coming from the Luray Downtown Initiative and the Parks and Rec Department.
On the other side of the coin, Burke said that filling vacant buildings in the downtown area has been a big concern that has proven challenging. The town continues to work with the county’s Economic Development Authority and other agencies to market the Brown’s Restaurant building, which also housed the Old Bridge Theater.
Burke’s $118,000 annual salary is not expected to change.
“There was no request for a compensation increase,” Burke said. “I’m happy with our current arrangement.”
Mayor Barry Presgraves indicated that there may be adjustments to Burke’s benefits package.
The town manager’s new contract is expected to be on the Feb. 10 meeting agenda, and the council is expected to take action. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the town hall on East Main Street.