Harline named Dover interim city manager; search down to two candidates

Dover Assistant City Manager Matt Harline at the Dover Public Library earlier this year. Delaware State News file photo

DOVER — Members of Dover City Council interviewed and had discussions with the final two candidates for the vacant city manager position in a nearly three-hour executive session at City Hall on Thursday night.

While a new city manager has yet to be decided upon and hired, council passed a motion that will allow Assistant City Manager Matt Harline to fill that role until the new hire is made. Mr. Harline was named temporary city manager effective from Oct. 15 with a 5% pay increase until the new city manager is put in place.

The city anticipates hiring a new city manager by the end of December with a start date in late January,

Bill Hare, council president, said the process has been rolling around smoothly thus far.

“We interviewed two people and had some discussion, but nothing was decided,” Councilman Hare said. “The process has been going pretty good. Everybody’s working together and, fortunately, we have a good second person in charge with Mr. Harline. He can handle things in lieu of getting a new person right away.”

Donna Mitchell had served as Dover’s city manager the past two-and-a-half years before retiring on Oct. 30. She had worked for the city for more than 30 years in different capacities before stepping down.

The Mercer Group headed the recruitment process to bring in qualified candidates for Dover’s city manager position.

Councilman Ralph Taylor Jr. said the candidates that they provided have allowed the process to proceed rather smoothly.

“I think the process was very fair and very balanced,” said Councilman Taylor. “Bringing in an outside agency allowed us the opportunity to not have to worry about any unfair play. No personalities were brought into it and we didn’t have to worry about anything other than having the absolute best candidates before us and it was an enjoyable process.

“I think Matt [Harline] is going to do exceptionally well. He’s well-versed in what we’re doing, and he’s been here for a while and he knows where the cracks are, so to speak. He’s going to do well.”