Ce­cil­ton preps for ad­min change

Cooper takes helm this week

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JA­COB OWENS

jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

— Af­ter sev­eral weeks of prepa­ra­tion, town ad­min­is­tra­tor Brenda Cochran is con­fi­dent in the fu­ture of the county’s south­ern­most town in the hands of her suc­ces­sor, Mary Cooper.

“It’s been great (work­ing with Mary), I don’t mind hand­ing the reins over to her,” Cochran said Fri­day, her last of­fi­cial day at the helm of Ce­cil­ton as she re­tires af­ter 12 years of ser­vice.

For the last three weeks, Cochran and Cooper have worked side-by-side so the new­comer could get a crash course on the town’s iden­tity, its up­com­ing projects and the tasks it takes to be its day-to-day man­ager. The two have also worked to clean and cat­a­log Cochran’s of­fice, which has ac­cu­mu­lated quite a few doc­u­ments, maps and more over her ten­ure.

“Ev­ery time I think of some­thing more I need to do or tell Mary, I write it down on a notepad,” Cochran said. “I think I have a pen and pa­per in ev­ery room of my house now.”

Cooper said that she first met Cochran at a Mary­land Mu­nic­i­pal League

CE­CIL­TON

con­fer­ence four years ago, and she’s stayed in touch since, lean­ing on her as a re­source at times.

“Brenda is full of knowl­edge and I’ve en­joyed be­ing a sponge, learn­ing what I can from her,” she said. “I’m happy for her and for my­self. I love this com­mu­nity and I’m so happy to be serv­ing it.”

The prepa­ra­tion work con­tin­ued into her last day at town hall, as Cochran and Cooper met with a Mary­land Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment of­fi­cial to re­view a more than $400,000 grant that will fund a new in­flow and in­fil­tra­tion study of the town’s water sys­tem, which will iden­tify any is­sues with the underground in­fra­struc­ture. It’s been al­most a decade since the town’s last stud­ies were done, but the new study is ex­pected to be­gin be­fore the end of the year.

Aside from work hap­pen­ing in town, Cooper said she has also put in many hours re­search­ing the town’s part in the Pearce Creek water so­lu­tion, meet­ing with fed­eral, state and lo­cal stake­hold­ers and vis­it­ing the dredge spoil con­tain­ment area.

“It’s an amaz­ing pro­ject,” she said. “It’s big and it’s mov­ing fast.”

Cooper said that she’s also spent much of the past few weeks get­ting out and talk­ing to town res­i­dents, at­tend­ing Li­ons and Ru­ri­tan club meet­ings and in­tro­duc­ing her­self at schools. She said the re­ac­tion so far has been very pos­i­tive.

“The res­i­dents are all re­ally ex­cited. The re­la­tion­ship in the past has been a good one and I want that to con­tinue,” she said. “They all play re­ally great roles in this com­mu­nity; they do a lot of good and help a lot of peo­ple, so if the town can help in those ef­forts in any way, I want to make sure that hap­pens.”

Cooper said that she’s also kept in touch with her friends in Ch­e­sa­peake City, where she pre­vi­ously served as billing clerk for four years.

“I’m very close to my for­mer col­leagues in Ch­e­sa­peake City, and in fact (Ch­e­sa­peake City town man­ager) San­dra (Ed­wards) and I were email­ing each other just this morn­ing,” she said. “We’re look­ing for­ward to op­por­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate on things in the near fu­ture.”

Cooper said she has lots of goals for the town, although at the out­set she’s fo­cused on just get­ting to know the com­mu­nity, in­tro­duc­ing her­self and stay­ing abreast of pro­ject up­dates.

“It’s ex­cit­ing times here in Ce­cil­ton,” she said.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

In­com­ing Ce­cil­ton town ad­min­is­tra­tor Mary Cooper, left, poses with out­go­ing town ad­min­is­tra­tor Brenda Cochran on her last day at town hall Fri­day.

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