BERLIN – With just over two weeks until current Berlin Administrative Director Linda Bambary retires, the town interviewed two candidates to take up her post this week.
This is the first round in the hiring process. Each of the two candidates, both from out of town, will be interviewed by the selection committee, which includes interim Mayor Gee Williams, Bambary herself and Pocomoke City Manager Russ Blake.
The selection committee will make a recommendation to the Berlin Mayor and Council if the candidate meets the committee’s standards. The recommended candidate would meet with the entire council, which would then vote on whether to hire that applicant.
If neither candidate interviewed this week is suitable, Bambary said there would be a second round of interviews.
“Experience in town management is our priority and we’ll go from there,” Bambary said.
“Hopefully, we’ll find someone who already has experience of the growth and changes Berlin will already be going through in the next decade,” Williams said.
The right applicant will be a good teacher and mentor to Berlin’s department heads to they can take on more of the day-to-day decision making, much of which ends up in Bambary’s hands, Williams said. Departments should then be more responsive to citizen requests.
Williams said he does not think it’s going to be possible to go through all the changes facing Berlin without empowering department heads to make a greater number of decisions.
Decision-making can’t come back to a bottleneck, Williams said.
The first round of interviews held this week singled out candidates with a history of town management, but there are at least 50 other applicants for the Berlin administrative director slot.
Williams said the town would not be holding interviews if the two applicants did not have the qualities officials were seeking.
Bambary will retire on Oct. 14, though she will be available for questions until late November.
The new administrative director could take up the post as early as the end of October, if the first round of interviews produces a viable candidate.
All of Berlin’s department heads are experienced and capable, Bambary said, and there should be no trouble during the transition to a new administrative director.
“I think it’ll be very smooth,” she said.