Roanoke’s city manager has announced his resignation for a new job in Chicago.
Chris Morrill announced at Tuesday’s city council meeting that he will become executive director of the Government Finance Officers Association. He has been a member of the organization for 30 years.
“This is a really incredible, special place,” Morrill said of Roanoke during his announcement.
Morrill, who spoke first to WFXR News before the announcement, said it will be hard to leave the Roanoke Valley behind.
“Roanoke is the best city in the country to work for because of the great city council, strong staff, our partnerships we have here,” he said.
Morrill began his tenure as city manager in 2010 and said he saw a lot of potential in the Star City.
“I think what I’m most proud of is working with city council, with my staff team, with other partners, to help the community feel better about itself to the point where we won Deschutes Brewery and we beat out Asheville and Charleston, South Carolina,” Morrill said.
In addition to building partnerships and bringing new opportunities for economic development, city officials said Morrill’s work has led to such things as the creation of the city’s broadband network.
Some council members got a bit emotional after Morrill’s announcement.
“It’s hard to put it into words, but we have a very good relationship,” said Anita Price, Roanoke vice-mayor. “And this is not just some person that just comes in and takes his job for granted.”
“He did so many things to change the perception of Roanoke,” said Sherman Lea, Roanoke mayor. “We’re now considered a regional partner. We do a lot of things regionally because of Chris’s leadership.”
Morrill said he is confident Roanoke will continue to reach new successes.
“People here are genuinely welcoming, they’re authentic,” Morrill said. “It is our greatest strength. And so just keep being that type of community.”
The national search for a replacement is about to get underway, Lea said. The city council will discuss that process at their next meeting set for March 1, he added.
Morrill’s last day as city manager is April 15.