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Discover Western Prince William April 2018
8
After learning about the Manassas Mayor and City Council in last month's
issue, we continue our quest to better understand the city's administrative
facets by hearing from City Manager William Patrick (Pat) Pate about his role
in leading the city's various departments.
City Manager
Mr. Pate has served in this capacity since
October 2013, when he was appointed
by Mayor Hal Parrish and the Manassas
City Council to be the chief administrative
officer of the city. Prior to this position, he
acquired years of preparatory experience
as the assistant city manager of High
Point, NC, and budget and evaluation
director for the City of Greensboro, NC.
However, his preparations date back
much further, when community service
and citizenship were instilled in him
through Scouting experiences and family
members involved in public service.
It was during his years at the University of
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, that he began
to take an interest in local government,
eventually earning a bachelor's degree
in political science and a master's degree
in public administration. Possessing competencies in budgeting and finance,
Mr. Pate took jobs in these fields, which led him to the positions noted above.
In Greensboro and High Point, both of which are much larger municipalities
than Manassas, he broadened his knowledge in operational departments,
including utilities, public works, transportation, and more.
Upon arriving in Virginia, Mr. Pate discovered that the Commonwealth is
unique in its treatment of independent cities, which take on responsibility
for societal segments normally left to the surrounding county, such as social
services and public schools. While there was a learning curve, he simply
added to his wheelhouse of operational knowledge over time!
In his role as City Manager, Mr. Pate carries out City Council policy directives
and manages government daily operations. He is responsible for preparing
and overseeing the annual operating and capital budgets ($328 million and
$205 million, respectively), which fund all aspects of local government service
delivery for over a dozen departments. Many of these services are things we
take for granted, never knowing what goes on behind the scenes unless the
services are interrupted while others may not impact the daily lives of most
citizens. Let's take a closer look at a few of the former:
Electric, Water & Sewer
"There's a lot of engineering and technical abilities that go behind a light
turning on when I flip a switch," Mr. Pate says. "And of course, that's
something that we don't want folks to be concerned about."
But consider some of the materials that go into powering The City of
Manassas--here are a few: six electric substations, 31 generators, 205 miles
of primary lines, more than 2,200 transformers, and over 3,400 public street
lights! Of course, there are times when power is lost, but the city's electric
reliability ranks at the top of the System Average Interruption Duration Index
(SAIDI) compared to other utilities in the area.
All Things Manassas, Part 2:
Meet the City Manager
Similarly, it gets high marks on its water quality. In the 1960s, Lake Manassas,
a 750-acre reservoir, was created outside city limits to provide drinking water
to area residents. Today, it provides about 14 million gallons of water daily to
the City of Manassas and other parts of western Prince William County, and
is strictly monitored by the city's water treatment plant, where state-licensed
operators use multiple processes to remove microbial, organic, inorganic,
and particulate contaminants. The water treatment plant has regularly
earned awards from the Virginia Department of Health and in 2016 earned
an award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for water
quality. In addition, the city works diligently to maintain its sewer system, with
all sewage treated at the Upper Occoquan Service Authority Regional Water
Reclamation Plant.
Police Department
Public safety is a top priority in any community and
Manassas takes it seriously. The Manassas City
Police Department (MCPD) currently employs 99
sworn officers, several of whom were awarded
2017 Valor Awards while others were recognized
for additional achievements, including the
completion of crisis intervention training,
graduations from the Police-K9 School, the
Forensic Science Academy, the Northern Virginia
Criminal Justice Academy, and the FBI National
Academy. Last year, MCPD was presented with the
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement
Agency's (CALEA) Advanced Accreditation, Gold
Standard with Excellence as well as the Meritorious
Ribbon for being an accredited agency for 15 years
or more.
Fire and Rescue Department
In addition, the City of Manassas Fire and Rescue Department works in close
conjunction with the Greater Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad, which
celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016, and the Manassas Volunteer Fire
Company, which celebrated its 125th anniversary last year. The three groups
work collaboratively and regularly earn state awards for professionalism.
The City of Manassas has authorized the
construction of a new public safety facility and Fire
& Rescue Station #21, both slated for completion
and dedication in 2020. The additions will allow
these departments to expand and improve their
already stellar service.
"We spend a lot of time working to ensure our
emergency personnel are highly trained and
capable to deliver services," says Mr. Pate,
adding that while they are quick to respond to
emergency situations, they're equally happy to
serve in a broad variety of Manassas functions,
including parades and festivals. Furthermore, the
Manassas Fire and Rescue Department regularly provides fire prevention
and safety education opportunities and activities for residents of all ages.
Intrigued? Tune in next month to learn about the efforts of other hardworking
departments that strive to provide the best service to Manassas residents.
~ Nancy Griffin-Bonnaire
William Patrick (Pat) Pate