By John McCaslin
Rappahannock News staff
The Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors today [Friday, June 23] “accepted, with regret,” the resignation of county Administrator Debbie Keyser.
The abrupt resignation of Keyster was accepted during a special “emergency meeting” of the BOS held in the Kramer Building in the town of Washington, during which a resolution was passed to release the administrator from her current employment contracts “under certain terms and conditions.”
No official reason was provided by Keyser for her resignation, but her short tenure as the county’s chief executive was rocky. Her job performance fell under repeated criticism by one member of the BOS in particular, Ron Frazier, the longest serving supervisor representing the Jackson District surrounding Amissville.
That said, Supervisor John Lesinski acknowledged earlier this year that it was the BOS that set Keyser up for “failure” by putting too many responsibilities on her plate — administrative duties coupled with zoning — that no one person could be expected to handle.
So the BOS in recent months budgeted for the creation of a full-time zoning administrator position, and just over one week ago David Dameron, who for the past nine years held the same post in Powhatan County west of Richmond, filled the post.
It was made clear in today’s meeting that Keyser will continue to serve as the county administrator until July 16, unless an earlier date is agreed to, and she will assist in the recruitment and training of her replacement.
The board also took action today to form a search committee to identify an interim county administrator, while simultaneously launching efforts to identify a full time replacement for Keyser.
Any new administrator, whether interim or permanent, will have to be approved by a vote of the BOS at a “public meeting” that would be scheduled for later this summer.
“We greatly appreciate the hard word and dedication that Debbie gave to Rappahannock County government and we are sorry that she has decided to leave,” BOS Chairman Roger Welch said in a statement issued this afternoon. “We wish her nothing but success going forward and are pleased that she will remain a resident of the county.”
Keyser officially became administrator on May 1, 2016, replacing John McCarthy, who retired after nearly three decades in the county’s top post. Keyser had worked under McCarthy for one year as deputy county administrator.
The Rappahannock News will have expanded coverage of Keyser’s resignation in the print edition of the newspaper on June 29.