Matt Reges, Local Government Management Fellow, Albemarle County
Your job title is local government management fellow. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
I provide professional staff support to the County Executive’s Office and to County departments on a wide range of projects. The fellowship is a full-time, paid, temporary position. The County gets creative, flexible help for urgent projects, and I gain experience in professional management. The main projects have been in recycling, community policing, fire prevention, budgeting, and government innovation. My work involves a good mix of technical research and people skills, deadlines and creativity. When the two-year fellowship ends in the summer, I would love to stay in C-ville and continue work with the City or County –but there may also be a leadership opportunity elsewhere in the state.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best and the most difficult: juggling a varied portfolio of projects and working with many different leaders and teams. In the same day, I might work on financial data, then graphic design, then organize a committee meeting, then compare notes with other management fellows around the country. This is par for the course in a well-run local government, and I love it.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
When you take out the trash. I staff the–elegantly named–Albemarle County Long Range Solid Waste Solutions Advisory Committee. This citizen panel is studying solid waste and recycling policy in our region and will report results and recommendations later this year. We often take these services for granted, but we all need them to be working well. Look up solid waste on our website to learn how you can have a say and get involved.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the County?
To learn about the County for research projects, I had the opportunity to ride along with staff in Police, Fire & Rescue, and Social Services. Our Family Support program is an innovative practice of basing social workers in school guidance offices to help solve in-school problems and connect a range of resources to family success. I joined a lunchtime counseling group, then a few home visits to areas of rural poverty in the county. It’s a part of our community not often seen. But our school system and local government do remarkably well in creating opportunities for all.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I’ve been mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters here for two years and was recently recognized as Big Brother of the Year by the local chapter. It’s been a rewarding and meaningful experience right in Belmont where I live. And my Little is very patient with my poor basketball skills.