Burk named county comptroller

Lifelong Carroll resident has business background

August 14, 2005|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Robert M. Burk dropped "acting" and "deputy" from his title last week, when the county commissioners named him comptroller.

The 35-year-old lifelong county resident, who will earn $80,000 annually in the position, grew up in the business world. His mother maintains a private law practice. His grandparents and his father owned Westminster's popular Treat Shop, an ice cream and candy business, started on Main Street and now at TownMall of Westminster.

After his father's death, Burk sold the business to a family friend. He visits the shop often and speaks fondly of it.

"I would be there every day after school, making candies and serving ice cream," he said. "It gave me a good work ethic, a sense for business and a solid background in customer service."

Burk joined the county comptroller's staff in 1998 as a staff accountant and was promoted to deputy four years ago.

"Working for the county gives me the opportunity to stay in the community where I grew up, a community I care about," he said.

He became acting comptroller when Eugene C. Curfman, who had held the job for nearly 25 years, retired in October.

"There is a real honor in this position because of the financial strength built into it," Burk said, crediting his predecessor.

Burk applied for the position and went through the interview process along with several other candidates.

"I knew that I was not a shoo-in," he said. "The interim gave the commissioners time to evaluate my performance, to work with me and see what I am capable of. It also gave me a chance to see what I was getting into."

A graduate of Westminster High School, Burk earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and became a certified public accountant in 1992. He worked at a local accounting firm before getting the job with the county.

"I have a good sense for where we are in terms of services we provide and how we can improve on those," he said. "This office is all about customer service, both internally and externally."

He would like to continue a push for electronic services that enable residents to pay county bills online and keep the lines of communication open.

"People deserve to know what is happening with their tax dollars," he said.

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