There has been a major change in part of the high-level administration at Rocky Mount City Hall.
Assistant City Manager Chris Beschler, who had been doubling as interim energy resources director, now is the permanent energy resources director.
Additionally, Parks and Recreation Director Elton Daniels has been named to Beschler’s now-former assistant city manager position.
The change was announced on Wednesday in a prepared statement by the city’s Communications and Marketing Department.
Daniels had been serving as parks and recreation director about 10 months prior to being elevated.
Daniels will join Assistant City Manager Natasha Hampton in the executive part of City Hall, but he is going to double as interim director of parks and recreation until a replacement is hired.
Beschler had been an assistant city manager since May 2018 and interim director of energy resources since July. Rocky Mount has a municipally owned electric and natural gas distribution system.
In the prepared statement on Wednesday, Beschler said, “I am delighted to make this transition and utilize the skills that have made many organizations successful and continue the groundwork that I have started here.”
Daniels had been parks and recreation director since February.
In the prepared statement on Wednesday, Daniels said, “Assuming this role is nothing that I take lightly — and based upon my past experiences and the time spent in Rocky Mount, I am well equipped to assume the role and look forward to leading the departments I am charged with managing.”
City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney, in the prepared statement on Wednesday, expressed elation about the changes, saying, “Over the past year, we have restructured our city operations to ensure we provide responsive, equitable and courteous service to our citizens, while achieving a financially sound government.
“We have made substantial improvements in energy resources and this move will allow Beschler to fully commit his time and efforts on enhancing the Energy Resources Department,” Small-Toney said.
Near the bottom of the prepared statement, Small-Toney also said there will be other departmental restructures coming, based upon the needs of the government, community and city residents. The statement did not elaborate further about what changes will be made and when.
Beschler was being paid $164,424 a year as both an assistant city manager and as interim director of energy resources. Beschler’s pay is being adjusted to $161,135 a year.
Daniels was being paid $130,000 a year and his pay is being adjusted to $158,100 a year to double as an assistant city manager and as interim parks and recreation director.
After the new parks and recreation director is hired, Daniels will be paid $155,000 a year as an assistant city manager.
Beschler has an extensive background in utilities.
Beschler worked 26 years at Yankee Gas Services Co. in Connecticut, where he began as a staff engineer and eventually became vice president of operations and also served as an interim chief operating officer.
Beschler went south to Richmond, Va., and joined the municipal government there in 2006. His service included working as public utilities director, deputy chief administrative officer for operations and acting chief administrative officer.
In 2015, then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed him to oversee the inner workings of the commonwealth’s government as director of the Department of General Services.
Daniels, prior to reporting to Rocky Mount as the new parks and recreation director, had been the manager of Selma’s municipal government for about a year and a half.
Daniels’ page on the LinkedIn career-oriented website said his prior government service includes three years as a magistrate in Brunswick County and two years as a management adviser for the UNC Local Government Service Corps.
Daniels’ page on LinkedIn said he served slightly more than a few years as manager of Sharpsburg’s municipal government before serving more than 2½ years as an assistant manager of Franklin County’s government.
The change announced on Wednesday also comes amid department heads and key officials having left Rocky Mount City Hall since Small-Toney became city manager.
The list of departures includes Energy Resources Director Rich Worsinger; Public Works Director Jonathan Boone; Fire Chief Mike Varnell; Internal Auditor Darlana Moore; Planning and Development Director Ken Graves; Downtown Development Manager John Jesso; and Community Development Manager Kellianne Davis.
Jesso was paid $40,000 by the municipal government as a result of a legal and financial settlement.