Vithoulkas to succeed Hazelett as county manager

John Vithoulkas
Deputy Henrico County Manager for Administration John Vithoulkas will succeed Virgil Hazelett as county manager when Hazelett retires in January, following a unanimous vote by the county's Board of Supervisors at its meeting tonight. Vithoulkas, 44, will begin his new position Jan. 17.

Vithoulkas will become the eighth county manager since Henrico adopted the form of government in 1934.

The county manager serves as Henrico’s chief administrative officer, responsible for implementing policies established by the Board of Supervisors and for overseeing the daily operations of the county and more than 35 agencies with approximately 4,000 general government employees (the county’s total workforce, general government and Henrico County Public Schools, is more than 10,400). Duties include preparation and oversight of the county’s annual budget, which tops $1 billion in operating and capital expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year, and preparation of the county’s annual legislative program before the Virginia General Assembly.

Vithoulkas, a Henrico employee since 1997, rose through the ranks of the Department of Finance, joining the agency as a budget analyst and also working as budget director. He became acting director of Finance in September 2007 before taking over as director in January 2008.

In September 2009, Hazelett named him to the additional position of special economic advisor as Henrico confronted revenue declines and other challenges stemming from the national recession. In December, he was named a deputy county manager.

Vithoulkas has been key in helping to establish Henrico's to fiscal policies that have enabled the county to balance its budget throughout the recession and the lingering problematic economy. The county has absorbed revenue declines of more than $92 million the last two years without laying off employees, cutting services or raising taxes. He was the architect of a series of bond sales during the recession that yielded $17.7 million in debt-service savings for the county.

In August 2011, Henrico was the first locality nationwide to have its debt reaffirmed as triple-AAA — the highest available for a governmental entity — by the three international credit-rating agencies following the downgrade of U.S. government debt by Standard and Poor’s.

Vithoulkas played a leading role in the effort that established Henrico, Va. as an official mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service in October 2008. The address-change initiative is saving the county more than $5 million annually in tax revenues that previously had been misdirected to other localities.

Vithoulkas, a naturalized citizen, is a native of Greece and immigrated to Virginia as an infant with his parents. A product of Henrico County Public Schools, he is a graduate of J.R. Tucker High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989 and received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1992. Before joining the Henrico County staff he worked as a police planner and assistant budget director for Gaston County, N.C. and as a budget analyst for Chesterfield County.

Vithoulkas lives in Glen Allen with his wife, Jenny, and their three children.

He has keyed the ongoing “Changing the Way Henrico Does Business” initiative, an internal project launched in response to the recession. It has led to streamlined, more-efficient operations in departments countywide, producing permanent savings of more than $50 million. He also has spearheaded efforts such as the Henrico Advantage Card, working with the local business community to boost sales for Henrico retailers.
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