Chris Dorsey says he is excited to start his new adventure as Salem city manager.
The 60-year-old coming from Tennessee will start the job on Jan. 2. Monday night Salem City Council officially hired Dorsey and introduced him to the community.
His starting salary will be $195,000.
Salem’s seventh city manager since Salem grew overnight from a town to a city comes from Chattanooga, Tenn. He takes over from Jay Taliaferro, who served the city for 32 years, the last four as city manager. His salary was reported as $208,749.
“Leading Virginia’s Championship City is an incredible honor, and I am looking forward to working with the mayor and City Council to keep Salem moving forward,” Dorsey said. “Most importantly, I am excited to meet the many employees I will be working with in the various departments. They are the ones on the front-line taking care of our citizens and visitors in so many ways every day.”
Dorsey was selected from nearly 50 candidates, and he brings a wealth of local government experiences to Salem. He last served as the City Manager of East Ridge, Tenn., and prior to that he was the City Administrator in Sparta, Tenn. He also was the town manager in Signal Mountain, Tenn., and a city manager in Red Bank, Tenn.
His background also includes public service in the financial world as budget director for the office of management and budget for Pasco County, Fla. He also worked for 18 years in Memphis, Tenn., where he held a number of positions including budget manager for the city.
In the prepared media release from the city, Mayor Renee Turk said, “We are thrilled to have Chris join our community to lead our city management team and our dedicated employees in the City of Salem.” She continued, “His extensive local government experience and strong financial background, along with his focus on communication and teamwork, make him the ideal fit for our city.”
Dorsey earned his Master of Public Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Political Science from the University of Tennessee. He holds a certification from the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service’s Local Government Leadership Program, and is a Certified Municipal Finance Officer (CMFO).
The new Salem City Manager also attended the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) Municipal Management Academy and the Elected Officials Academy.
Salem City Council conducted a national search for Salem’s new city manager, assisted by The Berkley Group of Bridgewater, Va. The Berkley Group processed applications and conducted initial interviews with the most qualified candidates, Mayor Turk said. It then assisted with selecting finalists who were interviewed by all five council members.
“The council was very pleased with the quality of our candidates, and I’m pleased to have the selection behind us,” Vice Mayor Jim Wallace said. “Our strong applicant pool was a testament to our great city and how desirable Salem is as a place to live and work. Council is excited to have Mr. Dorsey on Salem’s team, and we are expecting great things from him.”
Also at the Dec. 11 meeting, Council:
- Recognized three new Salem Police Officers attending the meeting;
- Heard from four citizens during the Citizen Comment portion of the meeting. They were:
- Ronald Thompson, 1000 W. Riverside, who has an ongoing drainage problem from a subdivision above him that has flooded out his private road, he said. Councilman Bill Jones said he would look at the situation. Meanwhile, Mayor Turk, after consultation with the City Attorney, said this is an issue between two property owners. “Whis washes away everything I have worked for all my life,” Thompson said;
- John Breen, who wants community surveys to address community issues, and suggested the city could use the services of Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Research to review the city’s survey;
- Emily Paine Carter, a North Broad Street resident concerned about possible plans by HopeTree Family Services to develop 20 acres and offer them for “50 new cluster condos, a hotel and a restaurant”;
- Lisa Chappel Miller, a Realtor who lives just over the Salem line in Roanoke County, and asked City Council to consider more affordable housing and patio homes.
Council’s last meeting of the 2023 calendar year ended at 7:24 p.m.