The town of Oriental has ended its search for a new town manager, hiring Diane H. Miller, who is currently the communications coordinator for the city of Havelock.
Miller becomes the fourth town manager for Oriental and also the first woman to hold the position. Previous managers included Wyatt Cutler, Randy Cahoon and Bob Maxbauer. Maxbauer retired last year and Cutler returned and has served as the interim manager since. He had originally retired in 2009.
Mayor Bill Sage said Miller was selected from more than 45 applicants, a list that was cut to five and then three finalists. The town commissioners approved her hiring unanimously following a closed personnel session on Thursday. She was offered the job Friday.
Her starting salary will be $47,000. She joins the town staff March 21 during the first day of the board’s annual retreat at the Delamar Center on the campus of Pamlico Community College.
Miller, who lives in New Bern, indicated she plans to move to Oriental.
Sage called the hiring “the culmination of months of advertising, applications and interviews that have led the town to a highly qualified selection for its next manager.”
He said the candidates who applied offered impressive credentials.
“Ms. Miller stood out among the top five finalists and all of the commissioners and I believe we have chosen well for the town,” he said. “She brings a wealth of education and experience very relevant to issues facing Oriental and qualifying her to lead our superb staff.”
Cutler, who has begun preparing the town’s 2014-15 budget, will remain in a consulting capacity to assist Miller in the transition.
“I think it is Oriental’s good fortune to have Diane join us for the annual planning retreat as well as on the leading edge of our annual budget,” Cutler said. “I will do all I can to help make for a smooth and seamless transition.”
Miller comes to Oriental after seven years in Havelock as that city’s grants manager and public information officer/communications coordinator. Her work hours were reduced in July as Havelock struggled with expenses in its 2014-15 budget in an effort to avoid a property tax increase. Along with other duties, Miller had a lead role in Havelock’s Brownfields environmental grant that aims to identify potential economic redevelopment opportunities in the city.
“We are very excited that Diane has decided to take on the Oriental manager role; one in which I am confident she will excel,” said Mayor Pro Tem Barb Venturi.
Miller worked for the city of New Bern prior to joining the Havelock staff. She received her degree in political science with a minor in planning from East Carolina University and then went on to earn her Master of Public Administration degree in 2010, also from ECU. Originally from Philadelphia, Miller says that she came south “courtesy of the United States Marine Corps.”
Miller will lead a staff of 12 full- and part-time town employees.