You asked: Southampton supervisors did not eliminate position

Published 10:59 am Saturday, August 11, 2012

Curious about something in Western Tidewater? Send your question to, and we’ll do our best to find the answer.

You asked: How did Assistant Southampton County Administrator Jon Mendenhall survive budget cuts this year?

COURTLAND—Assistant Southampton County Administrator Jon Mendenhall remains on the job.

County supervisors Dallas Jones, Ron West and Barry Porter all said they value what Mendenhall has done since he was hired 18 months ago, and the board didn’t discuss eliminating his position to balance its $52 million budget.

The “You Asked” question surfaced after a March 2011 discussion County Administrator Mike Johnson had with supervisors. Due to budget constraints at the time, Johnson recommended supervisors not fill the position, for which Mendenhall is paid $65,144 annually.

Supervisors overruled Johnson’s recommendation.

Mendenhall, then the director of engineering services for the City of Albemarle, N.C., was hired to replace Jay Randolph, who was hired administrator for Lunenburg County.

Porter opposed filling the position in April 2011 before he was elected to the board, but said Mendenhall has more than made up for his pay.

“I didn’t think we needed an assistant administrator,” Porter said. “It was just a training position. We had one and he left to become an administrator in another county.”

Porter said Mendenhall’s efforts to get grants to offset costs associated with economic development have proven to be worthwhile.

“He’s paid for himself,” Porter said.

Jones said having an assistant administrator could prove beneficial should Johnson leave.

“Mike has enough time in that at any time he could walk out of the office and say ‘that’s it,’” Jones said. “We didn’t want that to happen. We didn’t want to get caught with our pants down.”

“He handles complaints and other things that can take away from what Mike does every day,” he added.

Jones said many surrounding counties, including Greensville County, have assistant administrators. Greensville County has roughly 10,000 fewer people than Southampton.

“We’ve always had somebody there, why not have somebody else there,” he said.

West also favored filling the assistant administrator’s position in 2011. He said getting rid of it now wouldn’t make much of a difference in the budget.