Radford City Council appoints Dr. Richard Harshberger as interim councilmember

New River Valley News

RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Radford officials announced Tuesday morning that an experienced community leader will serve as an interim member of the Radford City Council in order to fill a vacancy left by another member’s resignation.

This news comes after officials announced on Nov. 1 that Councilman Onassis Burress resigned from the council — just 15 months into his four year term — to accept a new job in Florida.

Two weeks later, the Radford City Council asked the community to nominate candidates to serve as Burress’ interim replacement until a special election, which is set to take place on Nov. 8, 2022 in conjunction with the next city council election.

Over the course of the month, officials say the members of the council met several times, first to develop a process for how to select the interim member and then to develop a key list of qualities that the individual would possess, such as experience with city operations, engagement in the community, a shared vision for the direction of the city, and more.

Throughout the process, councilmembers reportedly engaged with citizens seeking nominations, as well as letters of interest and support, before deliberating and selecting the interim member.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the City of Radford announced that Dr. Richard Harshberger will fill the interim role of councilmember and begin his duties immediately.

“Dr. Harshberger brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, professionalism, engagement, and passion for Radford that will align with the Council’s vision and continue to move Radford forward,” Radford city officials said in a statement on Tuesday.

The city says that Dr. Harshberger has already served on the Radford City Council for 16 years, both as a councilmember and vice mayor. In addition, Dr. Harshberger has worked in various leadership roles throughout Radford, including serving on more than 10 boards, commissions, or committees.

“Council would be remiss not to mention the others who stepped up and volunteered to serve in this interim role; there were a number of excellent and well-qualified nominees who came forward. These individuals are already vital to the community and certainly have a future in this City,” the Radford government wrote on Facebook. “Council is immensely grateful to each of them for their service and their willingness to serve more, as well as to the citizens of Radford for their input. This entire process, especially Council’s interactions with each of these prospective nominees, has only strengthened the current Council’s conviction that Radford has a very strong future.”

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