VERSAILLES — Summer’s end often brings fond memories of enjoying fun at the fair, sipping sweet tea and catching the a few more rays at the beach before the school year starts. This year, the season has endless possibilities for Versailles Village Administrator Rodd Hale, who will be leaving his position August 28 to become the new Assistant City Manager of New Port Richey, Florida.
As longtime residents of Darke County, Hale and his wife, Brenda, have many cherished memories of their lifetime. As a native of Darke County, he met Brenda while in junior high school, and have been sweethearts every since, having celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary this past year. With son Clint practicing law in San Diego, and daughter, Kylie, working for the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, it had always been a dream to someday reside in a warmer climate. Like most people, “the older we get, the more we look forward to the warmer weather!” Hale said.
So when New Port Richey was searching for a new assistant city manager, Hale knew this would be a great opportunity to not only put his professional talents to good use, but also fulfill their desire to enjoy year-round summer weather. New Port Richey, a “golf-cart” suburb with a friendly, small-town vibe 30 miles northwest of Tampa Bay, has plenty to offer, with restaurants, shops and cafes to visit and tropical scenery to enjoy. Best of all, Hale will be working alongside New Port Richey City Manager, Debbie Mann, whom he has known for eight years through his work in many national and state municipal organizations. According to Hale, building professional relationships has been important throughout his career.
“If you treat people right, things work out for you,” he said.
Indeed, Hale’s distinguished career extends not just to Darke County, but to the many experiences he and Brenda have had over their many decades of public service.
Having graduated from Tri-Village High School, Hale continued his studies by attaining his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Edison State Community College, his Bachelor’s Degree from Bluffton University in Organizational Management, and his MBA from Bowling Green State University.
In his early career, he started as the District Sales Manager for The Daily Advocate in 1981. Later, his talent and eye for detail provided him some interesting employment opportunities throughout the Midwest, including working and writing in Chippewa Falls, Wisc., Coldwater, Mich., and Chicago, Ill.
In 1997, Brown Publishing of Jackson, Ohio, offered Hale the position of publisher of the Jackson Times Journal. The roads of rural living strongly resonated with his Darke County roots; thus, in 1999, Hale became publisher of The Daily Advocate, overseeing numerous publications throughout the area, including the Eaton Register Herald. In 2010, Hale was named safety service director of the City of Greenville, Ohio, where he diligently worked to improve the efficiency of emergency and safety services for city residents.
In 2012, Hale was hired as the village administrator of Versailles, and he became actively involved in community life, most notably serving as past president of the Rotary Club, and current president of the Versailles Area Pride and Progress Association (VAPPA), and as vice president of the Darke County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).
In 2018, Hale was instrumental in presenting a five-year capital improvement plan, which would enable the Village to upgrade equipment and infrastructure through 2023. Most recently, Hale received national recognition in the June, 2020 edition of The Municipal, a periodical for administrative professionals, for his article on why managers and elected officials have a responsibility to maintain adequate water and sewer rates.
In the article, Hale wrote, “…Just as it isn’t fair for future users to pay more for underpaying customers today, it isn’t fair for residential users to pay the same as industrial users that may be putting a much larger toll on the operation. This is where research is needed to determine who is utilizing the system in what capacity. The data is available; it just needs looked at and analyzed.”
Reflecting on his time as Versailles Village Administrator, Hale said, “I’m extremely proud of the many projects we’ve completed, but instigating a much-needed new housing subdivision, continuously improving our parks, and helping many businesses start, and grow, over the past eight years is something I’ll always remember fondly.”
Hale credits his success as village administrator to the great relationships he has forged with the Versailles Village Council.
“Mayor Jeff Subler and the village council, both current members and those that have sat on the Council during my eight year tenure, have been fantastic to work with as a group. We have gotten things done and worked together in the best interest of the village,” he said.
Hale hopes the next village administrator will continue to lead this growth.
“Versailles is in a very positive position,” he explained. “Businesses are growing and I believe the focus will need to be maintained on the downtown area to create more business spaces and opportunities. With the remodeling of the Versailles Inn, I believe the downtown area is primed to be a vibrant area to attract new businesses and provide activity for not only residents of the village, but all of Darke County.”
As a native son, Hale said he has many memorable experiences of the area.
“Being born and raised in Darke County, the Darke County Fair is something that brings many memories as a Darke County resident.”
Reflecting upon living in Versailles, he said,“ What I will always remember from being a resident of Versailles is the ‘can do’ attitude and the willingness of citizens to work together to get things done.”
Hale also noted, “What I will miss about living in the Village of Versailles is the camaraderie and friendships that I have made over the past eight years. ”
Versailles Mayor Jeff Subler praised the outgoing administrator’s devotion to both the village and Darke County.
“Rodd Hale came to Versailles eight years ago, immediately following the retirement of long-time Administrator Randy Gump,” Subler said. “Rodd immediately set about learning the duties of the village administrator position but, more importantly, getting to know the citizens of Versailles and quickly establishing many business and personal relationships, something that is key to a successful career as an administrator in a small town.”
Subler added, “Rodd’s vision and insight enabled the Village of Versailles to continue the success we have established and provided further vision to lead the Village of Versailles into the future. While we hate to see him go, we feel good about where he has led this village and the foundation for success in the future that he has helped to establish for his successor. We wish him well and we know he will be successful in his new role in Florida!”
Theodore Roosevelt once observed, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” As Rodd and Brenda Hale prepare to sell their home and embark upon this brave new venture, residents of Versailles and the citizens of Darke County bid them a fond farewell and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.