By Debbie Hall and Angela Hill
Patrick County native Robert “Rob” Hiatt is hoping to parlay his juvenile justice experience, as well as his background in criminal justice and political science, into a November win.
Hiatt, 44, said he will seek the Clerk of Court post created when Susan Gasperini retired in March.
Vicki Reece was appointed to the position, but does not plan to seek the office. A special election will be held in November.
As director of the 27th District Court Services Unit with the Department of Juvenile Justice, Hiatt said he oversees eight localities, which combined serve an estimated 225,000 people in the New River Valley. The localities include Montgomery, Floyd, Pulaski, Wythe, Carroll and Grayson counties as well as two cities — Galax and Radford.
“I’ve worked in the court system for 17 years with department of juvenile justice,” he said, and added he began his career human services 20 years ago.
“Over the last 10 years, I’ve been in a management role and now I’m an administrator for an agency” and has worked with local government in eight localities on their respective budgets and managed a state budget in a court service unit, Hiatt said.
Hiatt also has served on nine different Community Policy Management teams (CPMT); managed a $250,000 grant, as well as smaller grants, through Virginia Crime Control; serves as a policy writer for the Department of Juvenile Justice where he works on state policies. He said he also serves on a committee that makes policy recommendations that are considered by the juvenile justice agency.
“I feel like I’m a good fit” for the clerk’s position, Hiatt said. “I have some rich experience with courts. I’ve been with the (juvenile justice) department for 17 years, and I have 20 years of experience with the juvenile justice system.”
For the last 10 years, Hiatt said he has been in a management role of some sort, and has been in his current position for five years.
Given his experience as an agency head, as well as with budget and policy planning, “what I’ve done with the department translates really well into a leadership role” as the Clerk of Court, Hiatt said.
Additionally, Hiatt said he opts to commute each day to Pulaski rather than move from his home in Stuart.
“I was born in Patrick County. I enjoy living here, and I will retire here,” Hiatt said. “I have a love and a passion for Patrick County, and I intend to stay here. Patrick County is a place that’s near and dear to me,” Hiatt said.
He said he continues to work with Stuart Parks and Recreation, and has served on that board with Gasperini, for five or six years. His career also included eight years in Patrick County, as the juvenile probation officer.
“I‘d love to return to work in the area,” Hiatt said. “There are a lot of great people here.”
The son of Junior and Mabel Hiatt, both lifetime residents of Patrick County, Rob Hiatt, his wife, Angela and their two children, Noah and Ava, live in Stuart.