BERLIN – Jeff Fleetwood has been appointed Berlin’s acting town administrator for six months.
Though Fleetwood — who has served as managing director, human resources director and public works director since June — took over leadership duties at town hall as soon as Laura Allen was fired Sept. 16, Mayor Gee Williams confirmed Thursday that Fleetwood would be the acting town administrator until mid-March.
“This gives Jeff an opportunity to work at the position while also giving the mayor and council a reasonable time period to evaluate his performance and then determine if the temporary arrangement should become a formal agreement,” Williams said. “If not, then the town would at that time advertise for the position in the spring.”
Fleetwood was hired by the town in 2010 as human resources director. In 2017, he was given the title of managing director. Earlier this year, he added public works director to his job description.
“He was the second in charge prior to Laura’s termination and had filled in for Laura on numerous occasions,” Williams said. “He had shown that he could keep everything on track. It seemed the proper and fair thing to do to give him the opportunity to try out the job.”
Williams said the decision to offer Fleetwood the opportunity was made in a closed session meeting of the council Sept. 23. He added that it had made for a smooth transition in the wake of Allen’s departure.
“I’m confident this is the right thing to do and I hope it works out in a positive way,” Williams said.
Fleetwood said that while he’d worked well with Allen, he was looking forward to serving as town administrator.
“I enjoy coming to work, I enjoy the people here, I enjoy the challenge,” he said. “I sincerely mean that. It’s not the money, it’s not the title. I like a challenge. I’m mission driven.”
He added that while he had a good grasp of the town’s operations after nearly a decade in Berlin, he said his fellow staff members ensured everything ran smoothly.
“The department heads we have are very knowledgeable,” he said.
Allen, who had served as the town’s administrator since 2013, was fired Sept. 16. Though few details regarding her termination were given, Williams acknowledged that one of the reasons related to handling of the chemical spill that occurred in June at Heron Park.
When asked about the costs associated with terminating Allen, Williams said those would be announced at the Oct. 15 meeting of the town council.