The Patagonia Town Council welcomed a new face to the local government at the start of this month, hiring Ronald M. Robinson as the new town manager.
Robinson, who moved from Indian Trail, N.C. to Patagonia with his wife in 2018, officially started work at Town Hall on July 1. He takes over for former Manager David Teel, who retired after serving in the position since 2011.
Robinson’s current terms of employment include an annual salary of $45,000. The town council will review his work after six months, and then determine the longevity of his contract, he said.
As he began his third week on the job, Robinson took a few minutes on Tuesday to talk to the NI about his background and plans for his tenure.
What brought you to Patagonia?
“My wife has family here and we have been visiting the area since the early ‘90s, so we were familiar with Patagonia. We actually made three trips here in 2018, just to confirm that this is what we wanted to do and it’s such a beautiful area, we couldn’t resist. What really got us is the fact that when we first started coming here in the ‘90s to today, there’s been very little change. The town is just as beautiful as it was back in the ‘90s.”
What was your previous job?
“I was a builder. I did small remodels on homes, built small buildings – whatever I could pretty much do myself.”
Do you have any experience in government?
“Well, I used to own several franchise units in three different states and that gave me some insight,” he said about owning seven Wendy’s restaurants. “But as far as municipal government experience, I am learning on the job. The depth of my experience is in the business, the business side of government.”
Why were you interested in the position of town manager?
“I was encouraged,” Robinson said. He added that shortly after moving to Patagonia, he worked on a few remodeling projects for his wife’s family and they spurred him to apply for the job.
“I went to the library and read the town code, the town plan and the minutes from current town meetings back until the early 2000s. I tried to do my research and understand the function of the town, the personalities of the leadership. After that, I applied and here I am.”
What are some of the main issues you’re hoping to tackle as town manager?
“One of the things that I really hope to do is bring the water services up to date, provide better streets, more sidewalks. We’re in the process of looking for grants, right now, to do these infrastructure upgrades,” he said, adding that he would also look into making upgrades to the Patagonia Wastewater Treatment Plant.
“This is such an exciting time,” he said. “You can grow without a lot of change, if you can envision that. The personality of this town is very diverse and that’s what makes us unique, is we accept each other’s diversity and we build on it.”