Henrico County manager to retire in January

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jul 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-24 23:35:13-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Henrico's county manager will retire after 20 years on the job.

Virgil R. Hazelett said he will step down in September during Tuesday night's Henrico County Board of Supervisors meeting.

“I could do this forever. I love what I do,” said Hazelett

However, Hazelett is deciding to step aside in January of 2013. This comes at a time when the county is experiencing significant growth and changing demographics.

"Henrico county needs to move forward and I certainly don't want to hold that back,” said Hazelett.

Additionally, Hazelett said attempts to move forward are evident at recent controversial board of supervisors meetings, which centered around the construction of several mosques in the county and the decision by county leaders to do away with praying before meetings.

Both of those issues inflicted a lot of opposition.

One resident even spoke up about prayer shortly after Hazelett’s announcement, saying, “We might as well pray to the tree out there.”

Dealing with divisive issues isn't new for Hazelett.

In fact, he said his biggest mark is perhaps, the development of Short Pump, which has become the region's prime alternative to Downtown Richmond.

It’s also become the source of anger for East End residents who say the county isn't doing enough to develop schools and businesses on their end.

"More people, more dense, therefore more services. The density to the East End of the county was not the same and it's still not the same,” said Hazelett.

However, Hazelett said  he expects that to change because there's frankly no more room to build on the West End. He also said the entire county is in a good position to attract more businesses and residents, that's why he is stepping aside now.

"I, quite frankly, would rather go out on top and I think I am,” Hazelett told CBS 6.