From Colonial to Contemporary: A Roundtable Discussion

On October 19, The William and Mary Policy Review hosted a Roundtable Discussion about Generational Change with local government leaders—Marvin Collins, the Williamsburg City Manager, Neil Morgan, the York County Administrator, and Jason Purse, the James City County Assistant Administrator.


Mr. Collins, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Purse discussed how Generational Change affects their locality’s demographics, infrastructure, and strategic plans.

  • Demographically, the Historic Triangle’s population is aging rapidly, and its younger constituent base does not get involved in local decisions. Moreover, because much of the local government workforce is reaching retirement age, the local governments are trying to fill that institutional knowledge void and increase its youthful workforce.

  • Infrastructurally, the built environment is reaching the end of its useful life. Given this, police stations, fire station, pipelines, and government facilities need to be redeveloped. Technologically, the government facilities are looking to update their available technology for both constituents and employees to maintain a modern, competitive edge.

  • With Strategic Plans, the Historic Triangle is under pressure to maintain what they call “relevancy of place” while reflecting the next generation in its built environment. However, due to the increased demographic age of the region, older tax-paying generation are unwilling to invest in long term projects from which they will not directly benefit.

Mr. Collins, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Purse offered a glimpse into the challenges they face on a daily basis leading local governments and allowed the Roundtable attendees to ponder their own responsibilities as future policy makers and lifelong constituents. However, in wrapping up their comments, all three leaders ended on a similar theme: despite its challenges, local public service rewards you by letting you see your direct impact on a community, a project, or an individual.