Berlin Juggles Staff Members

BERLIN – Interim Mayor Gee Williams wasted no time after taking over from the late Mayor Tom Cardinale in tackling the reorganization of town staff, which had been spoken of but not attempted.

Williams said this week that he began the process the week after he took over as mayor, meeting with all department heads to discuss how Berlin’s staff can more efficiently serve the public.

While the process perhaps should have begun earlier, Cardinale’s failing health probably prevented him from undertaking the project, Williams felt.

Although he would not talk specifics of the reorganization yet, saying that it was too soon, Williams did say that the long vacant finance director post will be advertised in a few weeks and that slot filled as soon as possible.

Berlin has had a rocky history with finance directors in recent years, with the firing of Finance Director Ron Bireley in January 2005, followed by the resignation of his replacement, Don Fletcher, in September 2006.

How quickly Berlin gains a new finance director depends greatly on the quality of candidates who apply for the position, Williams said.

Part of the reorganization, was the recent hire of a Deputy Assistant Director, Rachel Bomar, who took up the newly created position this week.

The Planning and Zoning Superintendent position, empty since last August, also gained a new occupant this week in Chuck Ward, who takes over the vacancy left by former superintendent Stacy Weisner’s departure.

Other staff will see their roles redefined, Williams said. The chain of command, often murky throughout town departments, will be clarified.

As the town continues to change, the management structure needs to be modified, Williams said.

“The primary motivation is to operate with the same principles a business does,” said Williams. “The town of Berlin is very likely the biggest business in town.”

According to the interim mayor, town staff has received the reorganization enthusiastically.

“They’ve been extremely supportive of this,” he said. “I can’t be more proud of the response I’ve gotten from everyone.”

Williams does not plan to micro-manage town staff, but he said he does hope to set expectations and standards to run the town more smoothly and efficiently.

The staff reorganization does not reflect on the employees.

“We’ve got a lot of good people,” said Williams.