New Harrisonburg City Manager ready to hit the ground running
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On Tuesday night the Harrisonburg City Council announced the appointment of Ande Banks to the city manager position. Banks had served as the interim city manager since Eric Campbell resigned in December.
Banks is a Harrisonburg native who has worked in the city manager’s office for 13 years most recently as deputy city manager.
WHSV sat down with Banks on Wednesday as he stepped into his new role full-time.
“Just know that every morning I get up and I commit myself and my work to trying to ensure that this community is better in the future,” said Banks.
Ande Banks has lived in Harrisonburg since he was 4-years-old. He began his career in government by working in the Harrisonburg Office of former Congressman Bob Goodlatte.
“That put me in touch with city managers and county administrators up and down the Shenandoah Valley and it was that work that made me realize not only could I continue in public service but I could even work more closely for my hometown,” said Banks.
Banks worked under Harrisonburg’s two previous city managers Eric Campbell and Kurt Hodgen and said they were both mentors to him. He also served as interim city manager when Hodgen retired before Campbell was hired.
“After Kurt Hodgen retired from the city I was kind of focused on making sure that the ship stayed sailing in the right direction. This time it was different, we have a lot of really great work going on in the city and it wasn’t so much just making sure the ship was heading in the right direction until a new manager came along but rather picking up those opportunities and continuing to focus on moving that work forward,” he said.
Banks said that he felt like he had his dream job as deputy city manager and originally did not plan to apply for the city manager position but while serving in the interim role he decided he wanted to continue the work of city staff and make the transition for them as smooth as possible.
“It started to concern me that even the most well-intentioned manager from outside the area could come here and disrupt that work. And so it became very clear to me that I needed to step up and seize this opportunity,” he said.
City staff has been busy over the last year and Banks said he looks forward to continuing the work of addressing the city’s issues.
“We have a lot of very exciting work planned for and in the process whether that’s continuing to tackle affordable housing, the wicked problem of homelessness in our society, and addressing that, as well as meeting the priorities of city council’s 2039 vision they set forth for city staff,” he said.
Banks said that the thing he is most excited about in his new role is continuing to work for a better future for the city.
“The work that we commit ourselves to day in and day out as a career for me has been so gratifying, to work and see improvements being made in the community I grew up in and the community I raised my family in,” he said.
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