Berlin Hires New Finance, Public Works Directors

BERLIN – Two long vacant senior staff positions in the Berlin administration are vacant no more, with Jo-Ellen Mason-Foley taking up the Director of Finance post and Michael Gibbons stepping into the Director of Public Works slot.

The financial director position has been empty for nearly two years, since Don Fletcher resigned in 2006. Previous Public Works Director Dale Pruitt retired last year, leaving the department in the hands of assistant superintendent Wendell Purnell.

“I’m very encouraged. The department heads come with a wealth of experience,” said Berlin Administrative Director Linda Bambary.

Mason-Foley and Gibbons join recent hires Chuck Ward, director of planning, and Rachel Bomar, deputy administrative director, as part of the reorganization and revitalization of some town departments that started this spring.

Mason-Foley, who will take up her duties in Berlin on Sept. 2, began her career at Price Waterhouse in Washington D. C., where she audited federal agencies, moving on from there to become an auditor at Trice Geary in Salisbury. She has also worked in financial services for Perdue Farms and Ocean to Ocean Seafood on Cambridge. Recently, Mason-Foley served as financial director for the Tri-County Council.

“Among several qualified candidates, Mason-Foley’s background in business and government looks like the right fit for Berlin’s needs,” interim Mayor Gee Williams said.

Gibbons, who started work in Berlin this week, brings a background in construction and training in storm water inspection and construction review to the public works department. He also has some familiarity with surveying and blue print reading.

“The town is very fortunate to have someone of Mike Gibbons’ background and training to assume the duties of public works director,” Williams said. “The anticipated growth and changes in Berlin during the next decade will have a significant impact on Berlin’s public works department.”

Gibbons has been tasked with generating ideas to bring stormwater improvements suggested by the Army Corps of Engineers to fruition, Bambary said, as well as work on the town parks and the purchase of a new, automated garbage truck.

 The town has also been seeking a new electric operation manager. The administrative director slot will open in October, with Bambary’s retirement. Advertising for the position yielded 20 replies as of Wednesday.