Community Impact interviewed Petree to get an update on his first few weeks as city manager and how his long history with the organization will help him help guide the city in the future.
What has been the biggest adjustment from your previous role with the city to your new role as city manager?
I had the honor of serving as assistant city manager for the last five years and interim city manager since October 2022. Because of my time spent in those roles and with our incredible team of Roanoke staff, there haven't been many adjustments. The biggest adjustment was moving my things into a new office! The staff has helped make the transition seamless and the community continues to welcome me. Our mayor and council have a great vision for Roanoke, and I am honored to be a part of it.
How has your experience with the city helped you in your current role as city manager?
My time with the city has included wearing a few different hats from working with our public works department to leading the economic development department. That experience has given me the opportunity to see the inner workings of our city and given me a breadth of knowledge, which helps me lead from a position of understanding. That understanding helps me assist our departments in their growth and service to the citizens of Roanoke.
You just promoted the police chief to also assume the responsibilities of assistant city manager. How will that promotion change your day-to-day responsibilities? What does that move free you up to do more of?
Chief [Jeriahme] Miller is a great asset to the city of Roanoke. He has led the Roanoke Police Department in incredible ways and will do the same with the areas he now oversees. Having Chief Miller as the assistant city manager allows me to focus more time on economic development and continuing to grow the great business community in Roanoke. Both Chief Miller and I will lead our more than 150 full-time employees and continue to help make Roanoke a great place to live, work and do business.
Do you have any more staffing adjustments coming up in the near future in the city manager's office to help you manage the city? If so, what are they, and what is the reasoning behind them?
The city of Roanoke has seen massive growth in the last few years. As the city grows, we have an increased need for staff to support that growth. We look forward to adding to the existing team. Right now we are hiring for several great jobs. Folks interested in joining the great staff can visit our website to learn more about those opportunities.
As interim city manager and now as city manager, what do you feel is your biggest role in helping the city move forward in terms of development and growth?
I am proud of the businesses who have chosen Roanoke as their business home and hub. From large chain stores and facilities to small locally owned shops, Roanoke continues to be a city businesses choose. I look forward to continuing to enhance our existing business community. We already have several large projects coming up, including a few hotels and luxury apartment complexes. As city manager, economic development is a top priority.
The city of Roanoke also continues to grow as a recreational destination. Our parks, amenities and events rival those found in large cities. I hope to enhance tourism in Roanoke, and find new and innovative ways to let people know about the charm of our community.
Roanoke is a community I have had the honor of serving for nearly 20 years. I have been humbled by the kindness and support I have been shown as I have begun my new role as city manager. I look forward to continuing to lead and grow our great community.