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City manager resigning at end of month

After seven years of managing the daily operations for Winchester, City Manager Matt Belcher said it was time to do something else.

Belcher, who became city manager in 2013, is resigning at the end of July to become a manager and partner in a transmission business in Lexington.

The Winchester Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on his resignation during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Belcher said he will be working with a friend whose business is growing.

“We’ve been talking a while,” Belcher said. “I’ll be working with him managing one of his stores and being a partner in the business.”

Belcher actually started with the City of Winchester as interim city manager after Mayor Ed Burtner retired from the city manager position, prior to Ken Kerns starting in early 2006. Belcher was hired as city manager in 2013, after Kerns left and an interim tenure by J.R. Wilhite.

“Winchester has been blessed by several professionals” as city managers, Burtner said. “Matt certainly was very much a professional and approached the job in a serious manner.”

This opportunity developed over the last several months, Belcher said, and will be his first time working in the private sector in a while.

“I was looking to do something different,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it. they city has supported me and I’ve enjoyed my time here.”

Burtner said being city manager involves managing more than 130 employees and a $20 million annual budget.

“It is a big job,” he said.

Belcher said he wanted to improve and stabilize the city during his time.

“Just investing in trying to enhance the storm water (system) in the city and moving our transportation projects forward,” he said. “Trying to remove our dilapidated properties and redevelop those. I hope that continues.”

Personnel is another big challenge.

“We’ve had a  lot of turnover in personnel and putting the right people in the right place,” he said. “That’s been the most important thing and the most challenging … so the services continue for the people in the community.”

Belcher said he plans to work through July.

Burtner said he anticipates the city hiring an interim city manager until a candidate can be hired for the permanent position.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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