County Comment: County Administrator Rod Shoop to retire

County Comment
County Administrator Rod Shoop to retire
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

Washington County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop has announced plans to retire in early 2007. During the regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on September 19, Shoop requested approval to begin the hiring process for his replacement. Pending approval of a transition plan, a national search will take place with an application deadline in November. A screening and interview process will be conducted with a goal of hiring a new County Administrator by mid January 2007. Shoop is proposing to remain in place until a new Administrator is hired and acclimated to the position.
Prior to becoming County Administrator in 1995, Shoop was the manager of Hagerstown Regional Airport. He has remained active in national and state professional administrators organizations.
Shoop lists three areas of Washington County government that have been strengthened during his tenure in office:
* The County financial position is strong as witnessed by the increases in ratings by three major bond rating agencies--Standard and Poor, Moody, and Fitch--all of which has upgraded the County's rating in 2006 to its highest recorded levels.
* Washington County government has a strong and dedicated work force, with the employment perspective steadily improving over the years. Employee training and leadership development have contributed to the County's status as a desirable place to work. Shoop initiated an employee safety program in 1996, and recent improvements in wage and salary programs have played major roles in recruitment and retention of quality employees.
* Shoop initiated the County Strategic Planning process which has resulted in the development of long-range fiscal and operational plans which involve the effective positioning of personnel and resources in order to ensure peak efficiency and economy of County operations.
Shoop indicated that his policy over the past 12 years has often been guided by valuable lessons learned during his 20-year career in the United States Air Force-one of which was a popular motto: "Make it Better, Make it Happen, and Make it Last." He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, a Squadron Commander in the Tactical Air Command based at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina. For many years Shoop flew the A-10 "Warthog", which was produced right here in Hagerstown. During those years, he often volunteered to ferry a new plane from the Fairchild plant at Hagerstown Regional Airport to various bases throughout the world as this would give him the opportunity to visit his family in the area as well as to receive the valuable flying time.
Rod looks forward to this time not really as retirement but as a transition. He and his wife Judy will look forward to more time to travel and spend time with family and friends.
Shoop also requested that he begin a comprehensive orientation program for newly elected Commissioners to begin as soon as possible after the November general election. Shoop initiated this program in 1998, which involves a series of briefings and workshops with all County divisions and departments in order to orient new commissioners regarding relevant issues, current and emerging needs, and department missions, goals and operations. Having this orientation process on a fast track will enable the new Board to focus on the hiring of a new County Administrator in a timely manner.