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Willingboro Township Council Dismisses Permanent Manager

It would seem Willingboro and managers are not made for each other. The municipal government has lost another permanent manager after the council voted to remove Eric Berry. The decision was made earlier this week much to the surprise of observers.

Berry's role in the top administrative post barely lasted six months before he was dismissed. The decision came in after 3-2 vote by Mayor Darvis Holley, Deputy Mayor Martin Nock, and Councilwoman Rebecca Perrone.

Those that voted against the motion were council members Jacqueline Jennings, and Nathaniel Anderson Mayor Darvis Holly said the details regarding Berry's employment would not be discussed with the press. However, he insisted that Willingboro needed a new direction. "The bulk of the council felt new needed to head to a new direction," Holley said.

Following the dismissal, all efforts to reach out to Berry were unsuccessful.

Anderson took a different stance on the issue. He disagreed with the final decision saying that Berry was never given a formal job evaluation, or warning from the council.

"He wasn't given any warning. How can the first action o the council be to terminate his position, and make him redundant?" said Anderson. "I think this is nothing more than a deliberate act to put Berry to shame.

It is a witch, and I simply don't agree with the verdict. This is wrong in so many ways."

For the time being, Richard Brevogel, deputy township manager, will act as the interim manager. Brevogel has acted in this capacity in the past. In his position, Berry supervised all departments, approved bills, and vouchers, as well as maintain budget within the local government. In addition, he also oversaw operations and delegated responsibilities to various departments or the efficient running o the government.

The council had spent more than 12 months looking for a new manager after the former manager Joanne Diggs retired in January 2016. The council hired the Burgess Group, a New York Recruiting firm to carry out a nationwide search.

The firm recommended Berry and was paid $37,301. Berry was previously the deputy manager in Willingboro. He also held other administrative positions in Burlington City, Riverside and more. Holley and Nock declined to comment on terminating Berry's contract. However Anderson said their reason was based on a perceived lack of communication and transparency on how the government functioned.

Anderson felt Berry was doing an excellent job, was fulfilling his role in the council.

"We told him to assess the current situation, and make recommendations for adequate changes within the first 90 days of his tenure," Anderson said. "He did that and made a few changes. I am surprised he got the sack."

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