J.L. “Jay” Stegmaier, Chesterfield County Administrator, last Thursday announced his retirement effective July 1. After 10 years as the County Administrator and a total of 37 years with the County, Mr. Stegmaier said it was time. In fact he said that his wife, Margot, and he made a plan, during counseling before their wedding that he would have retired three years ago.
Stegmaier has seen many changes in Chesterfield since he began working in the Budget and Management department in 1979. The population has grown by 150 percent from 134,000 (1979) to 337,000 (2016) and the budget, county personnel and public facilities have grown at a similar rate requiring more work and dedication throughout the years.
“I’m really proud of my father for his commitment, devotion, and drive to improve Chesterfield County since he started working there in 1979 (a few years before I was born). His work ethic has been an inspiration to me—I think he’s been on call for the entire 37 years,” said Jamey Stegmaier, the Administrator’s eldest son.
Stegmaier humbly credits the County’s successes to the Board of Supervisors’ (BoS) guidance through the years.
“Chesterfield has a combination of passionate and engaged residents and businesses, the best public servants working together as a team that one will find anywhere, and selfless and committed elected officials focused on the good of the county,” Stegmaier said. “This combination over the years has produced an enviable and nationally heralded record that speaks for itself.”
While Stegmaier credits the BoS for their guidance throughout his tenure, the credit is returned in spades by the Board for the work he has done.
Board Chairman Steve Elswick said “Jay has been the face of Chesterfield County for 10 years. No previous County Administrator has ever faced the dire financial decisions that Jay faced. He led the County through the most difficult of times. We are seeing the positive recovery as a result of Jay’s leadership. He will be missed.”
Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle said she is sorry to see Stegmaier leave.
“I have known Jay since the early nineties. I was happy to have the opportunity to work with him when elected eight years ago,” Ms. Jaeckle said. “Jay has very strong ethical values and it shows in many ways throughout the county, especially in the caliber of Chesterfield County employees. With having worked for Chesterfield for thirty-seven years, he has an extensive knowledge of Chesterfield and a keen insight for solving problems. It was a hard decision for him, but if ever there was a good time, this is probably it. Chesterfield is in a strong position to hand over the reins to somebody else. He has been a pleasure to work with and I will miss him very much.”
The County Administrator credits County staff with what he calls the teamwork that creates exceptional customer service.
“I have admired Mr. Stegmaier’s ethics and integrity throughout the 20 years I’ve known him. I have also had the privilege of serving as one of his deputies and have learned so much from him during his tenure,” said Deputy County Aministrator Sarah Snead. “Most of all, I’ve come to know how much Mr. Stegmaier truly cares about residents, county employees and the future of Chesterfield County. He will be greatly missed by many.”
Under Stegmaier’s leadership, Chesterfield navigated the challenges of providing quality public services with less. Economic development grew significantly, highlighted by the 2014 announcement of a $2 billion investment by Chinese firm Shandong Tranlin Paper Company after securing the Amazon Distribution Center and Sabre Dipping Company among many others.
Stegmaier comes by his dedication to government honestly. He tells the story about how, when he was 12 years old, he saw his father, who was a Defense Department executive, upset about how he had recommended a contract for a computer system to a congressional committee and lost the bid. Even though his father’s bid from Honeywell was $6 million less than IBM’s bid. He asked his mother why and she responded, “politics.”
Stegmaier has three children: Jamey, Emily and Andrew with his wife Margot. They also have two grandchildren.
He said after retirement he will enjoy his hobby of woodworking, staying involved with the community working with others on public policy.
The Board of Supervisors will determine the process for filling the position of county administrator.