Monday, June 1, 2009

Burcham Handles Council’s Decision with Class – Video

Darlene Burcham speaks to media about her retirement.

Darlene Burcham speaks to media about her retirement.

For over three hours Roanoke City Council held an Executive Session dealing with performance reviews of appointed officers. One of which was City Manager, Darlene Burcham. What was handled poorly by 3 anonymous Council members in a leak to The Roanoke Times was today handled more respectfully by all members of Council. Burcham’s professional demeanor served her well. She was very open and candid about Council’s decision and made herself available to the media who had camped outside Council chambers for 3 hours.

Burcham will leave March 1, 2010. However, she is not ready to retire and will find it hard “to let go.” She plans to use her time to finish many of the projects she started. She listed her many accomplishments including Carilion Medical Center and the progress that has been made downtown. As proof she noted that Roanoke was gaining in population and jobs were coming to Roanoke in an announcement to be made soon. At 64, Burcham said, “I never thought about retiring because I think I will probably work until the day I drop dead.”

Councilwoman Gwen Mason, Chair of the Personnel Committee spoke to media but becoming emotion she cut interviews short. Mason said that this had been in the making since Winter. It was time for new leadership in the City Manager position. She described Burcham as having a “style that is awfully strong and there is a price to pay for that.” Mason said that Burcham “is near the end of her career … she was planning on retiring before too long anyway.” This contradicted the statement Burcham had made earlier.

Mayor Bowers also answered media questions and said it was a “united” decision that included Burcham’s concurrence.

Thus ends 10 years of consternation and citizen speculation on Burcham’s future. Those that crossed unpleasant paths with Burcham will find solace. Those who have had favorable dealings with Burcham may lament. Whatever is your experience and feelings  you will have to say the Lady is leaving with “grace.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics, Video

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