Chief Administrator Retires After 25 Years With County

Chief Administrator Retires After 25 Years With County
Pictured, from left, congratulating Harold Higgins, right, on his retirement are Commissioners Chip Bertino, Jim Bunting, Joe Mitrecic, Josh Nordstrom, Diana Purnell, Ted Elder and Bud Church. Submitted Photo

BERLIN – The Worcester County Commissioners honored outgoing Chief Administrative Officer Harold Higgins for 25 years of service to the county this week.

The commissioners on Tuesday presented Higgins, who is set to retire Aug. 20, with a commendation noting his contributions to Worcester County during the last 25 years.

“You always put the county first and that’s what’s important,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said.

Higgins began serving as the county’s finance officer in 1996, providing financial guidance and leadership to the commissioners. In 2013, he was appointed chief administrative officer. Mitrecic said that during his time in Worcester County, Higgins had led all aspects of government operations. Higgins navigated the county through a period of national economic decline and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“His prudent fiscal management secured the county’s solid financial standing, resulting in clean opinions from TGM Group LLC for each annual audit since 1996, the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 13 consecutive years, and credit ratings of AA for Fitch, AA+ for Standard and Poor’s, and Aa2 for Moody’s Investor Services,” Mitrecic read from Tuesday’s commendation.

Higgins was also credited with overseeing key construction projects such as the Berlin branch of the Worcester County Library, Showell Elementary School and Snow Hill High School.

Mitrecic said Higgins’ dedication to the county was commendable.

“I know your employees love you,” he said. “The commissioners over the years have loved and hated you, mostly loved you.”

Higgins, who with his wife Theresa, plans to spend more time with his four adult children and seven grandchildren during retirement, offered praise for the staff he’s worked with during his time in Worcester County.

“It’s been said if you want to go quickly go alone, if you want to go far together,” he said. “During this journey of 25 years, I’ve had the good fortune of traveling with some outstanding people and we have gone far.”

Higgins said he was fortunate to follow in the footsteps of John Yankus and Gerry Mason, the county’s prior chief administrative officers.

“I have tried to build on their legacy,” he said. “I was not born here or raised here but I chose to live here and raise my family here. Worcester County may not have been my first love, but it will be my last.”

He encouraged the employees he is leaving behind at the government center to remember the Worcester way — honesty, integrity and hard work.

“Most of all listen and be kind to our constituents,” he said.

Weston Young, the incoming chief administrative officer, is looking forward to his new role but said it had been “an absolute pleasure” working with Higgins.

“He is a consummate professional who always put staff first and remained an outstanding fiscal steward of the county,” he said.

Young, who was hired in 2020 to serve as assistant chief administrative officer, was selected in April to be Higgins’ replacement. Though a name has not yet been announced, following interviews yesterday the commissioners have now selected someone for the assistant chief administrative officer position.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.