Morrill finishes up last week as Roanoke's city manager

Last day on the job is Friday


As the city of Roanoke continues its search for a new city manager, Chris Morrill, who's held the position for the last seven years, is finishing up his final days on the job.

Morrill's next move will be to Chicago, where he'll serve as executive director of the Government Finance Officers Association.

Although Friday is his last day on the job, he has remained dedicated until the end. Morrill has been so busy making sure he leaves the city in good hands that he hasn't even finished packing up his office yet.

"It doesn't feel real, there's been so much that I've been working to try and get done that I haven't really thought about it ending tomorrow," Morrill said.

Throughout his office, you can see mementos of major accomplishments, a key to the city and a documentation of changes in Roanoke during his time here. But he said not everything can be photographed.

"It's something you don't see, it's something you feel,” Morrill said. “I think there is a sense of hope, optimism and pride in the community which just wasn't that outwardly visible when I first got here seven years ago.”

He showed one of the souvenirs he's taking with him: the chain that once closed City Hall North to the public.

"Being able to cut that chain when it reopened was huge," Morrill said with a smile. He said he wanted to let the public feel welcome at the municipal building.

Morrill said some of the biggest changes he's seen includes the addition of Elmwood Park, a population increase, downtown development, the innovation corridor and a focus on local libraries, which he said is his proudest moment.

"A decade ago people thought that libraries were dead because of the internet. Our libraries, because of our incredible library teams, have these vibrant community centers now, and when we redo a library, we see door counts go up, programming go out and I think they are an incredible community asset,” Morrill said.

He said he's leaving on a good note, with the city heading in the right direction.

"This is Roanoke's time. There is a unique opportunity to continue this progress moving forward, and people here deserve it. Don't let up at all, keep on loving this place and investing in it. Be proud of it."

Friday, April 15 is Morrill’s official last day. He begins his new job in Chicago May 1.

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