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Hanover supervisor resigns to join state workforce department

A person wearing a sport coat with a large check pattern smiles
Lyndon German
VPM News
Angela Kelly-Wiecek recently announced her resignation from the Hanover County Board of Supervisors. She's set to take on new role with the state Department of Workforce Development and Advancement.

Angela Kelly-Wiecek's interim replacement could be selected next week.

After Friday, residents in Hanover’s Chickahominy District will no longer be represented by Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek. She’s stepping down from her county position to join the state’s new Department of Workforce Development and Advancement.

Wiecek will serve as the office's chief deputy director and report to Chief Deputy Director Carrie Roth, the current commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission. Del. Kathy Byron (R–Bedford) was also recently appointed to the same department.

Wiecek bid farewell to her colleagues during her last official board meeting on Sept. 27. She said it was a tearful goodbye.

“Last week, I had the opportunity to thank the Hanover County staff, the sheriff's department, everybody in the school system, all of our Hanover County employees — and those thanks were heartfelt,” Wiecek said.

After 12 years of service, Wiecek also was on the receiving end of gratitude.

“So many people have reached out to say thank you. People who admittedly will start with ‘I didn't always agree with you but I'm really, you know, appreciative of her service,’” Wiecek said. “Those messages are very meaningful.”

Elected in 2011, Wiecek served as the board’s chairperson and vice chairperson. She was assigned to a number of committees and has held leadership roles with local organizations, including the Richmond Regional Tourism Board of Directors, the Consortium of Local Elected Officials and the Sports Backers Board of Directors.

Prior to being elected to the county board, Wiecek worked with a number of citizen-led committees before being encouraged to run for office.

“As I made those deep community connections and understood everything that was happening … I felt called to serve,” Wiecek said. “I was just deeply, deeply grateful for the support that I had from folks like [former Supervisor] Bob Setliff and many of our constitutional officers.”

During her tenure, Wiecek had a front-row seat to a number of county milestones, including Hanover’s 300-year anniversary, the opening of the Hanover Museum of History and Culture, the completion of the Atlee Branch Library and, most recently, the approval of the county’s comprehensive plan.

Of her accomplishments, Wiecek said she’s most proud of increasing the county’s financial transparency by putting its checkbook online, encouraging increased community engagement, and answering the concerns and questions of Hanover residents.

“I think it's really, really important for people to know that they have been heard,” Wiecek said. “I would hope that as people look back on my service here that they would say, ‘Angela listened.’ That is very important to me.”

The board of supervisors aim to select an interim representative to complete the remainder of Wiecek’s term, which ends on Dec. 31. Virginia Code states it's the board’s responsibility to appoint a new representative within 45 days of the office becoming vacant.

Interested candidates for the temporary role were asked to submit their names to the County Administrator’s Office by Wednesday, so Wiecek’s replacement could be selected during the board’s Oct. 11 meeting. Twelve candidates have applied for the position.

A similar process was used to fill the seat of Aubrey M. “Bucky” Stanley Jr., a Hanover County supervisor who died in office at the end of 2021.

“Vacancies happen in elected office for a whole host of reasons,” Hanover County Attorney Dennis Walter said. “Regardless of how a vacancy is created, state code gives a governing body the power to appoint on an interim basis.”

Walter said typically, state code calls for a special election to be held to fill a vacant seat, but with the general election just five weeks away, the appointee will only serve a short stint in office before residents elect a permanent replacement. Their term will start in January.

Wiecek said she hopes that whoever takes her seat thinks about what's good in the short and long term, and above all focuses on doing the right thing.

She recalled advice former President George W. Bush once imparted to her.

“He said to me, ‘Don't worry about doing what's popular, just focus on doing what's right,’” Wiecek said. “I think sometimes when people come into politics, they're expecting a lot of black and white. … I'm here to tell you in local government, particularly, there aren't simple answers. I just hope that as Hanover moves forward as a community, that we all take a moment to consider that.”

Updated: October 6, 2023 at 6:10 PM EDT
Oct. 6, 6:10 p.m.: This article was updated to clarify Wiecek's new role.
Lyndon German covers Henrico and Hanover counties for VPM News.