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Harrisonburg City Manager Eric Campbell announces resignation

Harrisonburg City Manager Eric D. Campbell
Harrisonburg City Manager Eric D. Campbell. Photo courtesy City Of Harrisonburg.

Harrisonburg City Manager Eric D. Campbell has announced his resignation effective Dec. 31, 2021.

Campbell, appointed into his position in 2018, oversaw the creation of Harrisonburg’s Executive Leadership Team and the hiring or appointment of eight city department heads. He also has helped lead many of the most vital projects focused on city leadership’s vision for Harrisonburg’s future. That includes the recently completed Comprehensive Housing Assessment & Market Study and Downtown Parking Study, as well as the ongoing Downtown 2040 masterplan and the Zoning & Subdivision Ordinance Re-Write.

Another effort, the Harrisonburg 2039 plan that outlines the City’s vision and priorities for the next two decades, was an effort Campbell brought to Harrisonburg that now serves as the guiding document for how City officials work toward turning Harrisonburg into the Capital of the Shenandoah Valley.

Under Campbell’s leadership, Harrisonburg has established a high-performance organization culture that allows department heads to focus on and address management and leadership issues that in turn ensure better service to our community. He also has overseen the creation of City Values that emphasize the importance of civil service and the belief that Harrisonburg truly is The Friendly City.

Campbell’s direction and dedication to fiscal responsibility recently led to an upgrade in the city’s general obligation bond rating from AA to AA+, the second-highest rating a municipality can receive, while moving forward on $157 million of additional general obligation public improvement debt to support creation of the second Harrisonburg high school and other key improvement projects in the city.

But the most impactful effort has been Campbell’s guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed city departments to continue providing essential services with no reduction in delivery despite hurdles with staffing and the reduction of $6 million in revenue from the 2020-2021 city budget. Under Campbell’s direction, numerous efforts have been made over the past 18 months to enhance city services to support community members impacted by the pandemic, and efforts to prepare for post-pandemic projects never ceased behind the scenes.

Campbell, reflecting on both the challenges and opportunities he has encountered during his time in Harrisonburg, believes that the stability provided by city staff and the foundation established for key upcoming projects allows the ideal time for him to step back from his position.

“It has been an honor to serve this community and work with employees who are the best public servants in local government,” Campbell said. “However, I am ready to pursue other interests and to continue my journey of continuous learning and personal growth.”

Prior to his appointment, Campbell served as an assistant city manager in Dallas, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, respectively. He spent the first 20 years of his career in various positions in Virginia local government, ultimately serving as deputy city manager in Portsmouth, and assistant city manager in Petersburg.

He graduated from Hampton University with a B.A. in psychology, received his Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, attended the Senior Executive Institute at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2010. He currently holds the International City/County Management Association Credentialed Manager designation.

Campbell is an active member of the International City/County Management Association and the Virginia Local Government Management Association. He currently serves on the Supervisory Board of the Virginia Risk Sharing Association and Virginia First Cities. He was reappointed by Gov. Ralph S. Northam to serve a three-year term on the State Executive Council for Children Services. Additionally, Campbell serves on several boards and commissions in the community.

Conversations regarding filling Harrisonburg’s city manager position will take place at a later date.