Ce­cil­ton to ap­point new ad­min­is­tra­tor Mon­day

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JA­COB OWENS jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

CE­CIL­TON — Brenda Cochran has been the back­bone of the county’s south­ern­most town for the past 12 years, but on Oct. 14 her ser­vice will come to a close.

Ce­cil­ton’s town ad­min­is­tra­tor is set to re­tire and move back to her home­town of Clarks­burg, W.V.

Mean­while, Ce­cil­ton is also pre­par­ing for new lead­er­ship, sched­ul­ing a spe­cial meet­ing Mon­day night to vote on Cochran’s re­place­ment. The search is down to two ap­pli­cants, both of whom are lo­cal and have been in­ter­viewed by Mayor Joe Zang and the town coun­cil, Cochran said Fri­day.

To those who have in­ti­mately known Ce­cil­ton’s op­er­a­tion over the past few years, Cochran’s re­tire­ment prob­a­bly doesn’t come as a huge sur­prise. She was di­ag­nosed with heart prob­lems a few years ago and doc­tors ad­vised that she try to cut down on stress. Since then, she’s worked from home on Tues­days and Thurs­days with the bless­ing of the mayor and coun­cil.

In her re­tire­ment, Cochran will re­turn to her child­hood home, which was left to her and her two sis­ters fol­low­ing the pass­ing of their par­ents.

“I’m so ex­cited to get to move back to my fam­ily’s place, which my grand­fa­ther built in the 1930s and my par­ents lived in af­ter,” she said. “I’ve al­ready started mak­ing it mine with some fixes and re­mod­els.”

Cochran moved from West Vir­ginia to Townsend, Del., in 1986 af­ter her hus­band, Allen, fol­lowed a col­league to a new job in Del­a­ware. For years, she worked at a day care and later at F. Schu­macher & Co.

Amidst down­siz­ing at F. Schu­macher in 2004, Cochran also learned that her mother had fallen very ill. Cochran left her po­si­tion to take care of and spend time with her, and later learned of an open­ing in Ce­cil­ton for a clerk/trea­surer’s po­si­tion.

“I faxed my re­sume to the town and I got a call on a Fri­day that we needed to get home quick be­cause my mother was do­ing worse,” she re­called. “We were try­ing to get ready to go when (then town ad­min­is­tra­tor) Shel­ley McDon­ald called me and asked me if I could do an in­ter­view that day. I said, ‘Shel­ley, I would love to and I will, but do I have to dress up be­cause I’m about to get on the road?’ She told me to stop on the way and we did.”

On that Sunday, Cochran’s mother passed away and a day later she was of­fered the clerk’s job in Ce­cil­ton. Fol­low­ing the fu­neral in West Vir­ginia, she be­gan her long run of ser­vice in town.

Cochran served as clerk/ trea­surer for the town from 2004 to 2007, and was ap­pointed town ad­min­is­tra­tor af­ter McDon­ald’s ini­tial re­place­ment didn’t pan out.

As Ce­cil­ton’s day-to-day man­ager, Cochran said she’s learned a lot about the op­er­a­tion of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and lo­cal gov­ern­ment. She had never lived in an in­cor- po­rated area be­fore, so the bevy of or­di­nances and reg­u­la­tions nec­es­sary to op­er­ate one sur­prised her at first. De­spite wear­ing many hats over the years, in­clud­ing plan­ning and zon­ing ad­min­is­tra­tor and code en­force­ment of­fi­cer, she said she has mostly fond mem­o­ries.

“I’ve loved it be­cause I love work­ing with peo­ple and the res­i­dents are all, mostly, fan­tas­tic,” she said. “I’m not go­ing to miss is­su­ing mu­nic­i­pal in­frac­tions though.”

Ce­cil­ton has grown tremen­dously un­der Cochran’s watch, al­most 40 per­cent be­tween the 2000 and 2010 cen­suses, per­haps a hall­mark of her ten­ure. The Park­lands at Ce­cil­ton apart­ment com­plex was com­pleted on her watch and the Frisby Mead­ows de­vel­op­ment was be­gun. To­day, the town is work­ing to aid res­i­dents of Pearce Creek-area com­mu­ni­ties in Ear­leville with wa­ter ser­vice, and the project oc­cu­pies much of Cochran’s time.

“I know a lot of peo­ple in town may not like (the growth), but they have to re­al­ize that if they don’t grow the town will die, be­cause it won’t have enough fund­ing,” she said, not­ing that the town pre­vi­ously passed an or­di­nance cre­at­ing a green­belt around the town and pre­vent­ing fu­ture sprawl. “We en­cour­age peo­ple to live here and work in Mid­dle­town, Del., where there’s a growth of jobs.”

Cochran hopes that Ce­cil­ton al­ways re­mains a place where neigh­bors watch out for one an­other and the com­mu­nity sup­ports the greater good.

“Our town has that small town feel and charm, and I hope that never changes be­cause that’s what makes Ce­cil­ton what it is,” she said.

Re­flect­ing on her time with Ce­cil­ton, Cochran said the thought of leav­ing the small town is bit­ter­sweet.

“I’m an emo­tional per­son, so I know that’s go­ing to be hard on me,” she said. “I haven’t lived in this town, but I’ve al­ways con­sid­ered it my town. I don’t think I’ve ever en­joyed a job I’ve had more than this one.”


Af­ter 12 years of serv­ing Ce­cil­ton, Town Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brenda Cochran will re­tire in Oc­to­ber. The town is set to ap­point her re­place­ment on Mon­day.

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