BERLIN — An interim town administrator is now in place, 11 resumes are in hand, interviews will be scheduled over the next several days and the Select Board is moving swiftly to replace Jeff Schulz.
Though he accepted a job offer in neighboring Northfield earlier this month, Schulz was still on the job in Berlin last week. He took over as Northfield’s new municipal manager on Monday, hours before the application deadline for candidates interested in his old job.
Berlin is now officially in transition mode, but Select Board Chairman Ture Nelson predicted Tuesday it won’t be there for long.
After huddling in executive session to review newly submitted applications Monday night, Nelson said he’s hoping the board will be in a position to make a job offer by mid-August and that a permanent replacement for Schulz will be on the job by Labor Day.
It is entirely possible he already is.
Among those who applied for the job is Tom Badowski, who was hired as Schulz’s assistant last October and on Monday night was appointed as his interim replacement until the search is complete.
Nelson, who said the board has settled on a “short list” of five candidates, described Badowski as a viable option, though he stressed he would be “treated equally” with the other four semifinalists.
According to Nelson, the job opening attracted candidates from Vermont and beyond, though he said most of those still in the running are from Vermont or New Hampshire or have previously worked in Vermont or New Hampshire. Several, he said, have something Badowski doesn’t — extensive municipal experience working for comparably sized communities.
“Some of the candidates have more ‘town’ experience than Tom (Badowski), but Tom has Berlin-specific experience,” he said. “That’s what this whole process is about … deciding who will be the best fit for Berlin.”
A school board member in Moretown, Badowski is relatively new to municipal government, having spent the bulk of his career working in the private sector. Before taking the assistant administrator’s job in Berlin he was employed as the general manager of the now-closed Moretown Landfill. Badowski has a background in civil and environmental engineering and got his start working for a three-county solid waste authority in Pennsylvania.
Although Badowski is something of a known commodity, Nelson said he was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of many of those who applied for a position that wasn’t even available a month ago.
“I was extremely happy with the candidates we got,” he said, suggesting the board has what appears on paper to be five solid options and won’t waste any time drilling deeper.
Board members Jeremy Hansen and Roberta Haskin have been tasked with conducting an initial round of interviews, Nelson said. That process will likely start later this week and continue through next week.
If all goes well, Nelson said, Hansen and Haskin will recommend the full board bring back one or more of the finalists for a second interview next month. He said he was hopeful that recommendation would be ready for the board when it meets Aug. 4.
Though there is no rush, Nelson said he is optimistic the board would be in a position to make a job offer next month.
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