Council Taps Hyattsville's Barber for Rockville City Clerk Job
Mayor Marcuccio: Hyattsville city clerk was "at the top of our list" when previous city clerk was hired.
The City of Rockville will name Douglass A. Barber as its new city clerk, officials said Tuesday evening.
Barber is the city clerk for the City of Hyattsville. His selection will be announced in a news release on Wednesday morning, Rockville spokeswoman Marylou Berg said in an email.
Reached by phone on Tuesday evening, Barber declined to comment before the formal announcement.
The hiring follows the sudden departure of Rockville city clerk Glenda Evans last year.
Barber was “at the top of our list” when Evans was hired in September 2010, said Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, who confirmed the hiring on Tuesday evening.
Instead of hiring Barber in 2010, “The group chose to experiment with the possibilities Ms. Evans would bring,” Marcuccio said.
“He was a win-win for us,” Marcuccio said. “I don’t think there was any question about it. He will be a perfect fit.”
Barber, who is scheduled to start on April 30, was still going through “the screening process, a background check,” Marcuccio said. But word of his departure from Hyattsville began to spread this week, forcing Rockville to push up the hiring announcement.
When Evans resigned, she said that she was not appreciated in the job. Her resignation followed an annual job evaluation by the mayor and council that Evans said focused more on her management style than on how she performed as clerk.
Evans, who said she was not asked to resign, tendered her resignation in an email to the mayor and City Council on Sept. 17—a Saturday. She was placed on administrative leave until her resignation took effect on Oct. 19 after roughly 15 months on the job. Her departure came amid a busy campaign season. The city clerk is charged with administering city elections.
Brenda Bean, who was deputy city clerk under Evans, has been serving as acting city clerk since Sept. 26. The city also called on former Rockville city clerks to assist during election season.
More than 100 candidates applied for the city clerk job, council members said. The mayor and council narrowed the field and chose about a half-dozen candidates to interview.
"I am delighted that Mr. Barber is coming to Rockville to serve as our City Clerk,” Councilman Tom Moore said in an emailed statement. “By all accounts, he has done a fantastic job in Hyattsville. Mr. Barber has mastered the intricacies of municipal clerking, and I look forward to seeing how he can make our well-running Clerk's office even better-run."
Moore said that Barber was his first choice for the job.
Terms of Barber's contract were not immediately available. Council members declined to discuss terms or how many candidates were interviewed, citing city policy of not discussing personnel matters.
Councilman John F. Hall, Jr. said he was pleased by the quality of candidates from which the council had to choose.
“We were very fortunate,” Hall said.
Despite Barber’s job in a smaller city—Hyattsville’s population was 17,551 in the 2010 Census vs. Rockville’s population of 61,209—Hall said that he is confident Barber will do well in Rockville.
“I was looking for someone ready to do the job on Day One,” Hall said. “Douglas obviously brings that quality to the city.”
In the vetting process, Barber “more than demonstrated his ability not just to do the job, but his ability to grow and expand in the job,” Hall said.
It’s a job that means handling the day-to-day business of City Hall, Hall said.
“It requires a little bit more than just being able to run an office or run an election,” Hall said. It also means having the “discretion and skill” to address citizens’ concerns, he said.
Councilwoman Bridget Donnell Newton said it was “gratifying” to see so many applicants interested in Rockville and that she was pleased with the council’s selection process.
“At the very end we were able to calmly and coolly talk about the strengths and attributes that people are bringing to Rockville,” she said.
In an interview after her resignation, Evans said that she felt that the city clerk job brought with it the shadow of former city clerk Claire Funkhouser, who spent 12 years on the job before retiring in 2010.
With Evans's time in the job as a buffer between the new clerk and Funkhouser's long tenure, Marcuccio said that she doesn't think Barber will face the same challenge.
Newton said the council was looking for someone with the same commitment as Funkhouser.
“We’d love to see somebody whose tenure is as long as Claire’s was because that stability and focus is what makes the City Clerk’s Office work,” Newton said.
As the first stop for citizens looking for information about the city, the clerk’s office “is the heart of the city,” Newton said.
“To have that office working as a team and supporting the mayor and council and the City of Rockville is the first step in having a copacetic City Hall,” she said.
Rockville is also in the process of hiring a new city manager. Scott Ullery retired in December after seven years as city manager.
The council hopes to announce a new city manager sometime next month.
Correction: This version of this article corrects the spelling of Douglass A. Barber's first name, which was misspelled in the original post. Rockville Patch regrets the error.