Town to lose official again Warner to retire after years in job he agreed to fill for weeks

'Going to be really missed'

Ex-teacher served as councilman, then as town manager

May 07, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Manchester Town Manager David M. Warner said he'll leave his post in July to give retirement another try.

Warner retired once -- more than 10 years ago, as director of pupil transportation for the Carroll County public school system -- but he has served the town as a councilman or an employee since 1987.

Warner was elected to the council in May 1987 and served in several capacities, including acting town manager, before being named town manager in 1995.

"They asked me to help out for six to eight weeks -- but that was 3 1/2 years ago," he said.

Mayor Elmer C. Lippy Jr. recalled their work together on some of the town's major projects: a multimillion-dollar sewage-treatment plant; expansion and improvements to the water supply; and the reorganization of the town government.

"We've faced some big problems," Lippy said yesterday. "He's going to be really missed."

In 1994, the previous town manager resigned, the mayor said. Warner had been the town's project administrator for two years and a councilman for three years, "and he sort of did the duties of the acting town manager," Lippy said.

Warner also drafted a plan for the town that suggested restructuring the chain of command and allowing the staff to expand as the town grew. He revised the town code to implement the town-manager system -- the position that he eventually filled.

"David is skilled in getting along with people, and that's so important," Lippy said. "Also, it's amazing how much of a town manager is communicating -- and David is very skilled at that too, of course. He's a former English teacher -- he taught English to three of my children."

That background also comes in handy when Warner writes the town's grant applications, the mayor said.

Warner undertook a review of the master plan for the town of about 3,100, which set a cap for its population at 5,000. The cap is dictated by the capacity of the sewage-treatment facilities, he said.

Manchester is a town of homes and shops, with no industry or even a shopping center, he said. "Residential development rarely pays for itself in taxes," he said.

"David and I have gone through a lot, with intermittent years in between," said Lippy, who left town government to serve as a county commissioner from 1990 to 1994, then was elected mayor again in May 1995.

"When I became mayor in 1987, before I was recycled, and he was on the council, we had this huge project with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the EPA.

Ensured plentiful water

"It seemed like we just took our oaths and found out we had these two large grants for the sewage-treatment plant to be expanded and modernized. Farms had been bought for a pioneering type of spray irrigation -- but it was a 1982 grant, and they said, 'If you don't want it to die, get active on it.'

"So we did," Lippy said. "And those two grants paid 96 1/2 percent of the cost of that sewage-treatment plant. It was a landmark opportunity we shared together -- an $11.1 million project."

After Warner's term as commissioner, Lippy said, "We shared all the problems of the town again." This time it was water -- and contamination of the springs that provided more than a third of the town's supply.

Next week, a half-million-gallon water tank will open and more than double the water supply, he said. It was largely paid for by a $950,000 water-upgrade grant from the state.

Time for his family

Warner received $20 an hour in his job, said Lippy, who is looking for a new town manager.

"He will be sorely missed, but if that's his desire, we can't hold him here -- nor do we want to hold him back from a rewarding life."

Warner, 58, has lived most of his life in Carroll, but was born in Nagoya, Japan, where his father was a missionary. He taught English at North Carroll Middle School, then became the school system's assistant director of transportation and was named director about 1982. He retired from that post in December 1987.

"I'm going to try out retirement in a permanent kind of way this time," Warner said.

His immediate plans are to see his grandson off on the school bus for kindergarten in the mornings.

Pub Date: 5/07/98

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