VIRGINIA BEACH — The city’s chief deputy treasurer was sworn in Friday morning after the retirement of City Treasurer John Atkinson.
Leigh Henderson was sworn-in as acting-city treasurer by Circuit Court Clerk Tina Sinnen at 9 a.m., Henderson said.
Henderson’s new position is interim — the city treasurer is a constitutional office, meaning a special election is required to choose the city’s next treasurer.
Although it is not an appointment, as the next highest ranking officer behind the treasurer, Henderson inherited the position after Atkinson’s retirement, in accordance with state law. At least one of Henderson’s high-ranking colleagues at the city offered praise for the new acting-treasurer.
“I’ve worked with her over the last 10 years,” said City Auditor Lyndon Remias. “She is the right person for the job. Very smart and trustworthy.”
Henderson was born and raised in Virginia Beach and has two bachelor’s degrees from Old Dominion University — one in finance and one in accounting.
Henderson said she was “hired right out of college” by the city as a lower-level accountant in the treasurer’s office more than 18 years ago. She later became chief accountant, and was then promoted to chief deputy treasurer.
Because Atkinson retired in the middle of his term, City Council will ask the circuit court for a special election so voters can choose the city’s next treasurer, Henderson said. The treasurer is elected every four years.
City Council will discuss their request for a special election during their Jan. 8 meeting.
With an upcoming special election mandated by Virginia code, Henderson has the option to campaign for election to that position.
“It is my plan to run for treasurer,” she said.