Smyrna searching for new town manager

DOVER — Smyrna is hiring a new town manager.

Manager Gary Stulir informed town employees Thursday he will be assuming the job of chief financial officer, a role he previously held. Mr. Stulir will continue to work as interim town manager until a replacement can be hired by Town Council.

According to Mayor Robert Johnson, the move was made with input from himself, Mr. Stulir and the members of Town Council and will allow Mr. Stulir to better utilize his experience and knowledge to help the municipality.

Smyrna Mayor Robert Johnson

“Gary’s a very valuable employee,” the mayor, who was elected in April, said Friday. “His background is finance and he really is an exceptional financial person. So, it was a mutual decision that we made, and his skillset as a finance person, he just thought that would be best for the town.”

Mr. Stulir served as acting town manager for about a year before assuming the role full-time around two years ago, according to Mr. Johnson. He has worked for Smyrna for 15 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The town hopes to fill the position as soon as possible and has already posted it online, Mr. Johnson said.

While the assistant town manager is welcome to apply for the job, Mr. Johnson said, Smyrna officials will likely be hiring from outside the town, believing new blood would be beneficial.

“Smyrna’s getting bigger. It’s getting bigger and bigger,” the mayor said. “We just want to have, just new ideas coming to town. We’re really growing, and in order to grow sometimes you have to reach outside the organization to get that additional vision.”

As of July 1, 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the northern Kent County locale had a population of 11,580, an in-crease of about 15.5 percent from the 2010 census. By that 2018 calculation, it is the fifth-largest municipality in Delaware, narrowly beating out Milford.

A special Town Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday to consider in a closed session “personnel matters in which the names, competency, and abilities of individual employees will be discussed and to discuss legal advice from an attorney per-taining to potential litigation.” It is unclear if the meeting and the planned hiring of a new manager, likely from outside Smyrna, are related, with Mr. Johnson declining to comment due to privacy laws.