Similarities between real Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill and fictional Pawnee City Manager Chris Traeger only begin with their names.
As soon as Traeger appeared on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Rec,” friends jabbed Morrill about the parallels: their depthless optimism, their workout mania, their meticulous attention to diet.
So it’s fitting that Morrill, along with the city’s social media manager Timothy Martin, was named to the “Chris Traeger List” of the “Top 100 Local Government Influencers.”
The perfect Traeger list winner, according to the group Engaging Local Government Leaders, “is someone who has a jampacked daily schedule but makes time for an informational interview or to present a webinar to a nationwide audience. Our list is full of individuals who quiver at the phrase ‘I’m too busy.’ ”
Morrill came in at No. 32 on the list, which cited a sticker on his iPad case that reads “I like local government as much as Leslie Knope loves waffles!” Knope, played by Amy Poehler, was the central character on “Parks and Rec.”
Martin, No. 100, was cited for managing more than 40 social media pages for the city and for the other awards he’s won, including “Best Use of Humor in Government.”
Morrill doesn’t fully embrace his effervescent spirit brother Traeger, who hopes to be the first human to live to 150, but the comparison isn’t entirely unflattering.
“I’ve never been compared to Rob Lowe before,” he said.