Jay Taliaferro has been named City Manager for the City of Salem, effective immediately. This morning, Salem City Council members met in closed session and emerged from their discussions to announce that Taliaferro has been chosen to lead the city on a full-time permanent basis.
Taliaferro was selected over 42 other candidates who expressed interest in the job through a nationwide search that was conducted by the independent firm, GovHR USA, on behalf of Council. Taliaferro has served as Salem’s interim City Manager since January, when Council relieved Kevin Boggess of his duties after more than a decade of service.
“I am honored to have this unique opportunity to serve in my hometown,” says Taliaferro. “I have worked for Salem for 28 years and to now have the chance to work with City Council and be the City Manager for our citizens, as we move the city forward, is truly a privilege.”
Taliaferro served as a GIS Engineer for Salem from 1991-94. He was the city’s Assistant Engineer from 1994-1998 and City Engineer from 1998-2000. He made the move into administration in 2000 when he was named Salem’s Assistant City Manager. In that position, he was instrumental in the implementation and completion of a number of key projects including the development of Public Works Task Force, the East Main Street Road improvement project and the development of a Neighborhood Task Force designed to create peace and respect amongst Roanoke College students and city residents in off-campus neighborhoods.
“I think we have to evaluate all of our processes as we move forward,” he says. “When you get stagnant and you fail to keep evolving, the whole world will pass you by. We must stay current because that is the only way we can stay relevant. We need to make sure we are utilizing technology to its fullest and doing things as efficiently as we can.”
Taliaferro is a Salem High School graduate, who has a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Tech. His entire career he has been active on numerous regional boards and committees including the Western Virginia Regional Jail, Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Roanoke Regional Partnership and the Roanoke Valley Workforce Development Board.
“The number of quality applicants we received for this position was impressive, “say Salem Mayor Randy Foley. “We had a strong pool of candidates, but Mr. Taliaferro’s immense knowledge of the city and his willingness to move it forward made it clear that the best person for the job was already a city employee. He did everything Council asked of him during the difficult interim period, and we look forward to great things moving forward.”
Taliaferro and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married 26 years and they have two adult sons, Jimmy and Bobby. Jay’s father, Jim, was Salem’s Mayor from 1974-1996.