Surry Administrator Lynn focuses on transparency in local government

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: August 1, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

SURRY – “I believe in providing too much information to the board and public so everybody know what’s going on,” said Surry County Administrator Jonathan Lynn when he sat down recently as he approaches six months on the job as service to the county. “It’s something I’ve always thought was common practice in government to keep things interactive.”

 Lynn, who came to Surry on March 1 from the Atlanta area hit the grown running, to fill the shoes of popular Sandy Wanner, the interim Administrator who had been well-thought-of during his tenure in the position, and who was involved in selecting Lynn as his successor. 

Lynn has already instigated a practice of delivering an Admin Report at regular monthly Board of Supervisors meetings.  At the July meeting, for example, he informed all present of a recent retirement of a county employee, reminded the board that two appointments would be coming up for consideration soon, and gave updates on the Route 31 Bridge and news from VDOT on that front, the ongoing Dendron Water System project, and progress in clearing up and imminent reopening after a small fire at the Surry Seafood Company. 

“I just think it’s important to have a constant flow of information to the public and officials,” Lynn said.  “It’s common sense to me to be able to provide a quick report to the board about things that are happening in the county and address any questions, before it gets to the point that people think staff is trying to hide anything.”

“Right now we are, as a county, involved with several multi-million dollar ongoing projects,” Lynn continued.  “We have the new Rescue Squad Building, the Town of Dendron Water system upgrade that includes both a new water tower and new water lines in the town, and a new roof going up on the Surry County High School.  That’s upwards of eight and a half million dollars currently in projects going on Surry county that are going to benefit the entire community.

“We are sharing more information about these and other things through social media,” he added.  “We’re updating the county website constantly, and having more meetings with community groups to keep the information out there where all citizens can be as aware as they want to be of what’s going on in Surry County.  We have hired our first full-time Economic Development Director, our first full time Network Administrator, and are working toward our first full-time HR Manager.  They have always been shared duties up until now – parts of larger jobs.  But as Surry County grows and expands the need for those is obvious.”

When asked if there had been “growing pains” attached to learning this new area after moving here from Georgia, Lynn responded, “I think with any new job moving into a new government there’s a lot to understand and comprehend.  There are a number of situations I inherited – some are good, some are still forming –  and I look forward to working to continue to moving forward, making our Surry County government operations more efficient as things progress.“ 

“I was brought in to be someone that was different and could implement change and increase efficiencies within the county,” Lynn continued.  “The previous administrator had been here for a decade, and as Mr. Wanner often said when he was acclimating me to the area, sometimes a different set of eyes can bring in no preconceived notions – a truly open, clean slate.”

“I’m excited!” he said, when asked about plans for the future.  “I really enjoy the day to day operations of Surry county, and I have a vision of how I see the county going and how I can be a part of that.  As an administrator I think it’s important to be open to changes while making sure not to make them too sweeping all at once.  At the end of the day, the job is a job.  I see that, but I also really enjoy being part of this community, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the success of Surry County’s moving forward while maintaining the parts of the area that make it so special.“ 

 “I truly believe that it’s time that we all focus on moving in the right direction with Surry County as a whole – not just little pockets of focus here and there,” he said.  “Because it’s amazing what can happen with dedication and cohesiveness.”

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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