Bill Letteri, Assistant County Executive, Albemarle County
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved at an early age to the northern, more rural part of upstate New York to a small town called Clinton Corners which is about 30 miles from Poughkeepsie.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
While attending college in upstate New York, I married my high school sweetheart Nancy and, in addition to “comfort, love and honor her as long as we both shall live”, I vowed that we would move to Charlottesville so she could complete her undergraduate degree at UVA. As seems typical of many residents of Albemarle and Charlottesville, we moved here, loved it and never left. However, in the interest of full disclosure, we did take a brief hiatus for about two and a half years and moved to Chapel Hill where I served as Public Works Director, but the offer to return to Albemarle County was just too compelling to turn down.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
My family and I reside in the Western part of Albemarle County near Crozet .
I am very happily married to my wonderful wife Nancy and we will be celebrating our 34th anniversary this coming August. We are fortunate to have two beautiful children, Cora who is just now completing her first year of studies at JMU and Benjamin who is a rising 8th grader at Henley .
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I completed my undergraduate degree at Cornell University (1980) and later completed my MBA at JMU in May of 2001.
What were you doing before coming to work for the County?
Prior to my most recent 18 years in government I’ve had broad experience in private industry, to include public accounting, financial management, health care administration and ownership in a commercial construction firm.
Your job title is Assistant County Executive. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
I am responsible for the oversight of the “internal operations” of the County. These include General Services, Information Technology, Human Resources, Facilities Development, and Finance operations. I also serve as liaison to the County’s Constitutional Offices (Sheriff, Commonwealth Attorney and Clerk). My role is to provide general guidance, oversight and support to the very talented and capable department directors that manage the operations of county government.
What is the best part of your job?
On a routine level, I enjoy the variety, challenge and unpredictability that each day brings. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of government administration, so whether it’s a system integration issue, a proposal on an employee benefits program, a major facility renovation or financial strategies on capital debt management, most days are full of interest and challenge. Perhaps the best part of my job is the honor to work with talented, innovative and dedicated staff, all focused on the mission and goals of the county.
The most difficult part?
I think one of the hardest things for me is witnessing or dealing with unwarranted or misguided criticism of staff. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often, but it feels so unfair, particularly when you know from direct experience that most employees work very hard and sincerely have the best interest of taxpayers in mind.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
There are a number of aspects of what I do – i.e. maintaining efficient operations or minding after the county’s finances – that is somewhat “behind the scenes” but critically important; conversely, other areas such as online services, the condition of our facilities, customer service related to real estate or tax matters or constructing new fire stations or libraries that are very tangible and “touch” the lives of our residents on a daily basis.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had with with the County?
I’ve always enjoyed the whole process of conceptual study, planning, public engagement, design and construction of community facilities. Over the years, I was fortunate to be involved in a number of significant public projects, including court buildings, public works facilities, a transit center, fire stations and public libraries.
What is a little-known fact about you?
Having lived in Virginia for over 32 years, I can now comfortably roll off the southern drawl as well as the natives – so it’s always a surprise to many when I tell them that I was born in Brooklyn!
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc?
Besides enjoying time with my family, I have been involved in furniture making for more than 30 years. My recent work includes Stickley, or mission style furniture. I’m also an avid reader, fumble around with the guitar and regularly cycle around the western part of the county on my road bike.