Allen begins job as Berlin's new town administrator
BERLIN—It was all about getting organized and up to speed as Berlin’s new Town Administrator Laura Allen settled into her new office in Town Hall Sept. 3.
She said she was reviewing several key issues, including the new stormwater management utility and the town’s contentious relations with the Berlin Fire Company to prepare for the Sept. 9 town meeting. A discussion of the financial relationship between the town and the fire company should spark public interest during Allen’s debut meeting.
Her first day continued as she shut down her office and headed straight into a 5:30 p.m. Parks Commission meeting.
Allen replaces Anthony Carson, who resigned on June 30 to accept the position of city manager of Painesville, Ohio. Deputy Administrator Mary Bohlen served as interim town administrator.
Allen was city manager of Colma, Calif. (population 1,441) for the past four and a half years and is a credentialed city manager and a certified public finance officer, she said in a June interview. Colma is smaller than Berlin and was originally designated for cemetery usage in the early 1900s after San Francisco outsourced its cemeteries. It has 1,441 "above ground residents" and 1.5 million souls, Allen said.
She and her husband of 24 years Mark Joseph have east coast origins. They made the cross-country trip in 10 days, sightseeing along the way, she said. The trek took them through Salt Lake City; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Omaha, Neb.; St. Louis; Louisville, Ky.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Charlottesville, Va.
They will be living in an apartment in Ocean City as they preparing to move into their new home in Berlin, Allen said. She said she is making a list as she receives tips on the best places to shop and dine, and the Berlin Coffeehouse is an early favorite. But, she was quick to add, “All of the businesses have been very welcoming.”
Asked how she felt about leaving California, Allen admitted it was hard to say goodbye to her friends and colleagues. “But the timing was right for me to make this move,” she said.