James City County finance director Sue Mellen to retire

Staff writer

Sue Mellen will retire from her post as the chief of James City County’s finance department April 30.

Mellen has served in a number of roles in the department over the course of a 31-year career. Most recently, she has worked as the finance department director since 2015.

“It’s been a great 31 years. You’ve been my family,” Mellen said during a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. “I had some really wonderful mentors who always allowed me to always do more than my current job and that meant a lot.”

Mellen’s colleagues called her a key part of the county’s financial success and a good leader.

“One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Sue is her innate problem-solving abilities,” said assistant finance director Sharon Day, Mellen’s lieutenant. “Sue has said she hopes people do not think of her just as a finance person. Those of us who have worked with her during her 31-year career in the county would all agree that she is far more than that.”

County administrator Scott Stevens noted Mellen’s long tenure with the county, starting as a senior accounting clerk in 1987 and steadily climbing the department’s organizational ladder to the top post.

“In reviewing her personnel file, Sue was a good hire for the James City County from the very beginning,” he said.

Not only was Mellen a leader in county government, she was a leader in the community, serving as a board member of Colonial Behavioral Health and the Williamsburg Regional Library, Stevens said.

Mellen played a key role in guiding the county toward its AAA-bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service in 2015. With Moody’s rating, the county could claim AAA ratings from all three major bond rating agencies, giving James City County a sterling financial reputation. That rating was reaffirmed this fall, Stevens said.

“Her efforts have helped position James City County very well financially,” he said. “She will be missed as she leaves this organization. Fortunately for me and James City County she’s planned for her retirement and has developed a great staff. So if folks are worried about whether the work will go on, it will, because of Sue’s legacy.”

Day will act as the interim finance director while a permanent replacement for Mellen is found. The county has begun searching for that replacement and will consider both internal and external candidates.

The application review process is slated to start in early May and a new finance director is expected to be selected by the end of June, Stevens said in an email Thursday.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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