LOW MOOR — Jon Lanford is stepping down as Alleghany County’s administrator, effective July 9.

Lanford announced Tuesday night that he will be taking a job with neighboring Botetourt County. 

On Tuesday, Botetourt announced the hiring of Lanford as its assistant county administrator. His employment in Botetourt County will begin July 19.   

“An opportunity was provided to me that will fit what I want to do for the rest of my career well,” Lanford said.

He has served as Alleghany County’s administrator for five years. Lanford  was hired in 2003 by then-County Administrator Tammy Stephenson. He has also served as public works director and assistant county administrator. 

“Jon has worn many hats for the county, and he’s done an outstanding job in all of them,” said Sharon District Supervisor Cletus Nicely.

Before coming to Alleghany County, Lanford worked in Botetourt County for two years, as administrator of its stormwater and erosion and sediment control program. He also worked for the Virginia Departments of Health and Conservation and Recreation.     

In November 2019, Lanford was a finalist in Salem for its city manager’s post. He withdrew his name from consideration and decided to stay in Alleghany County, where his wife, Coty, grew up.

This time, Botetourt County made a job offer, even though he was not looking to leave. Lanford  said his family will remain in Alleghany County and he will commute to his new job.

Lanford has two teenaged daughters, Carlee and Ella.

“It’s an opportunity for us to move on, keep my family here, continue to live here, continue to support this community, move on and do some different things professionally,” Lanford said.

Members of the board of supervisors credited Lanford for placing Alleghany County in strong position to move forward.

“We are going to be working from an incredible foundation Jon has given us,” said Clifton Forge East Supervisor Joan Vannorsdall.

“The foundation you’ve made for us going forward is going to be very strong. I’d like to find roughly 2,500 more of you,” Board Chairman Matt Garten said to Lanford.

Lanford oversaw the construction of the Lower Jackson River Wastewater Treatment Plant near Iron Gate. That project resolved a state consent order and the threat of fines.

He was involved in establishing an improved  regional emergency communication system with Covington. The radio system went online last year.

Lanford has also been part of talks to merge the Alleghany County and Covington school systems.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m still here to help. The folks in Botetourt have been very afforded to me and they have allowed me to continue to help as much as you all want, because they know how important it is to me,” Lanford said.

One of his last projects will be starting the development of a pad-ready site at the Alleghany Regional Commerce Center. The site will be designed to attract a business or industry to the property.

“We will finish some things and I will make sure this is buttoned up and ready to go, so that we can get a site in that commerce center that’s in good shape. Then, it’ll be a good time to separate from you all and bring somebody fresh in, with maybe some good ideas,” Lanford said.

The board of supervisors has not decided how it will proceed with finding Lanford’s replacement.

In announcing Lanford’s hiring in Botetourt on Tuesday, County Administrator Gary Larrowe said, “Jon is a proven leader with a track record of success. He knows Botetourt County and has acquired a broad range of local and state government experience that makes him a distinct fit  to serve as assistant county administrator.

“He will add much-needed system capacity and compliment the current deputy administrator and myself very well,” Larrowe said.

Lanford said, “I’m humbled and excited to be afforded the opportunity to rejoin the Botetourt County team, some 22 years after Botetourt gave me my first opportunity to work in local government. Great things are happening in Botetourt County, and I look forward to being a small part of a dedicated group of folks making them happen.”