City of Baltimore City Administrator Christopher Shorter will be Prince William County’s next county executive as of Jan. 3.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors held a brief meeting Tuesday morning during which they voted 6-2 to hire Shorter, 44, to take the reins from acting-County Executive Elijah Johnson.
Johnson, a deputy Prince William County executive, had been filling in as county executive since Christopher Martino retired at the end of 2021. The county executive is the top unelected post in Prince William County and oversees all county staff and operations.
Shorter holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public & International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in economics from FAMU, or Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, in Tallahassee, Florida.
He will be paid $350,000 annually when he joins the Prince William County staff early next year, according to a county news release.
The county supervisors chose Shorter after “an extensive nationwide search,” according to Board of Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler, who welcomed Shorter in brief remarks during the Oct. 25 meeting.
Wheeler, D-At Large, said the county is embarking on significant changes in the coming years and looks forward to working with both Shorter and Johnson, who was apparently in the running for the permanent post.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in Prince William County; enough to go around and you will be busy,” Wheeler said to both men.
Both Supervisors Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville, and Yesli Vega, R-Coles, voted against hiring Shorter. In brief remarks, both Lawson and Vega said they supported keeping Johnson on as the county’s permanent county executive.
“I strongly believe that Mr. Elijah Johnson is the best candidate to be the next county executive to lead our county. It’s nothing personal against Mr. Shorter … I look forward to having a professional relationship with you,” Lawson said. “It’s just, as I said, Mr. Johnson has done a fantastic job leading our county for the last 10 months and I think he is better qualified, but obviously I’m in the minority on that and I accept that.”
All of the supervisors thanked Johnson and commended him for the work he’s done in the role of Prince William County's acting county executive.
Supervisor Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan, echoed those remarks but said he values Shorter’s experience with other jurisdictions around the country.
“Your wide breadth of experience … when it comes to sustainability, housing, public works, transportation -- there’s a lot of things we’re looking to get right in this county,” Boddye said. “We’ve had steady leadership in the past, and we need to continue to bend that arc toward progress.”
Shorter, who attended the meeting, said he is looking forward to leading the Prince William County staff. The county has more than 6,200 full- and part-time employees.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve the county in this next chapter,” Shorter said. “I am privileged to be a public servant.”
Shorter has more than 18 years of experience in local government, including serving in the City of Baltimore’s top unelected post since December 2020.
Before that, Shorter served as assistant city manager for health, environment, culture and lifelong Learning in Austin, Texas, according to a Prince William County news release.
Prior to working for Austin, Shorter had several “leadership roles” within the District of Columbia government, including the director of public works, director of agency operations, and chief operating officer for multiple departments, according to the county news release.
As Baltimore’s city administrator, Shorter led “the development and design of the city’s strategic action plan, outlining a clear vision for the City of Baltimore and establishing measurable goals and indicators of success,” the release said.
He also established a government Transformation Management Office, chaired Baltimore City’s Workforce Vaccination and Testing Operations Taskforce, established and led the city’s Sustainability and Resiliency Sub-cabinet and is leading a Comprehensive Procurement Reform process to assess citywide procurement rules and regulations, the release said.
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