Naples hires Berkowitz as interim town manager

Mitchell Berkowitz, former Bridgton town manager, has been hired as Naples' interim town manager.

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES – The former town manager of Bridgton, Mitch Berkowitz, was sworn in as Naples’ interim town manager very early Tuesday morning.

This is a role that a retired Berkowitz has taken on before: Serving as a transitional town manager while a job search is on.

Berkowitz arrived at the Naples Town Hall at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday as did all the town employees. As the interim town manager, his first task was to hold meetings with individual employees; and that was how he spent the morning, according to Town Secretary Kate Matthews.

The Naples Board of Selectmen made the call to hire an interim town manager three days after its regular meeting this month.

On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, a special meeting was called and the board went into executive session. The reason cited was a personnel matter.

When the selectmen reconvened about an hour later, Chairman Jim Grattelo announced the planned hiring of Berkowitz as the interim town manager.

According to Grattelo, the agreement was that Berkowitz would “be sworn in Tuesday morning.”

The contract agreement between the town and Berkowitz outlines his job duties for whatever duration is necessary.

“For the purpose of the public, during this process . . . we did not think it would take as long as it has to hire a town manager. We, therefore, felt it was important to bring in an interim town manager,” Grattelo said.

He explained that extending the deadline for resume packages – although beneficial for widening the candidate pool – had postponed the hiring process.

Another reason the board decided to hire a temporary town manager: the responsibilities of interim town manager were too numerous and time-consuming for Town Clerk Judy Whynot who already had the workload of her job, Grattelo said.

The board voted unanimously to enter into the job contract agreement with Berkowitz, hiring him as interim town manager. Naples selectmen Kevin Rogers and Rich Cebra were absent from the special meeting, which was held Nov. 16. Berkowitz was the Bridgton town manager for more than eight years, retiring in October 2014.

Berkowitz “has also done this interim work for other towns as well,” Grattelo said.

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