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New year, new opportunities

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 11:10 am

Trish King Montross new Town ManagerPatricia Lewis took over as town manager of Montross early last year, after long time Manager Brenda Reamy announced she wanted to retire after 22 years of service. The town was careful in their selection of a new manager and Lewis won the confidence of the Council and approval of Reamy .
It’s been eight months in her position as town manager and although she is reluctant to talk about herself she agreed to discuss the job this first year. “I think it has gone well, Brenda has really helped a lot, she is so full of knowledge, she has made it a very smooth transition. I’m not going to lie. I was a little overwhelmed at first because I had fall festival, the audit, and getting out real estate bills all coming at me at the same time. But I got through it, I’m getting the hang of it and I learn something new every day. I really enjoy my job!”
A lifelong resident of Westmoreland County, she graduated from Washington and Lee High School. She and her husband have been friends since grade school. Her roots are firmly planted in the area and her desire to give back to the community shows in everything she does.
Lewis worked for Richard Stuart for 21 years, as his Legal Assistant while Stuart was the Commonwealth Attorney and as a Legislative Assistant while he was in the Senate.
Lewis said her work with Stuart has helped in her present position. Her legal background will help her navigating the local zoning and planning codes.
Her work during Stuart’s Senate terms has helped her make connections with Montross citizens and government officials during the legislative process.
After serving with Stuart she became Office Manager at Westmoreland State Park. That job kept her busy with the public. “I’m a people person and I love working in public assistance.” Her budget work at the park helps her with the town budgeting.
Lewis said previous Town Manager Brenda Reamy is a “true accountant” so all of her book-keeping was done on a ledger. “I have learned so much by working on that.” Lewis is working to transfer the towns accounting to Quick Books.
Lewis also plans to work toward building a website dedicated to town business codes, guidelines and building and zoning applications online.
One of Lewis’ goals is to expand on town events to help bring in more tourism. Lewis is currently working with a local group to plan the town’s first Strawberry Festival for next year and plans are in the works to create the first Northern Neck Half-Marathon which the group is hoping to organize in 2018.
Expanding business opportunities is a big goal of the Montross Town Council and one that Lewis shares. Keeping with the theme of “Return to the Village” is desirable however Lewis just wants “business owners to enjoy the business they go into.”
One of the goals of the Council last year was to improve their relationship with the county government, Lewis feels that has been accomplished.
Lewis serves as a Westmoreland School Board Member at large. The Town will be working closely with the County to build the new Proposed High School, since a large portion of the academic buildings sit within town limits and the athletic fields sit in the county. Lewis feels her service on the County School Board has been advantageous in her job and has not caused any conflicts of interest. Should a conflict arise in matters when voting on the new school construction, Lewis plans to abstain from voting on those issues.
“It’s all very humbling to be able to work for a town that I truly love, and I love it here.”