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Q&A: Outgoing city administrator shares her experiences from working in Westminster

Barbara Matthews is stepping down as the city of Westminster’s administrator. She spent four years on the job but is resigning May 3 because her husband will soon retire. The Times recently caught up with Matthews via email to talk about her experience these last four years.

Q: How would you describe your time with the city of Westminster?

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A: It’s hard to sum up four years in just a few sentences, but the word that comes to mind is “productive.” I recently had the chance to participate in a virtual class with McDaniel College students, and one of them asked me how I measured success. As I shared in my response to that student, my benchmark as I’m leaving a position is whether I can look back and say that my efforts helped to enhance municipal government operations and the community that I served. I feel comfortable in saying that I have done so.

Q: What will you miss most about being Westminster’s city administrator?

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A: Serving as a City Administrator involves partnerships and collaboration, both within the City government and with the community. During my time with the City of Westminster, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many dedicated elected and appointed officials in Carroll County, an immensely talented and hardworking City of Westminster staff, and wonderful community partners such as our business owners/operators and McDaniel College. I’ll miss working alongside these individuals.

Q: Any lasting memories made while on the job?

A: Working together with the mayor, the members of the Common Council, and the city staff, we’ve accomplished a lot over the past four years, and I’m proud of the role that I played in moving the organization and the community forward. One of the projects that I really enjoyed working on was the 45 West Main Renovation Project. One of the first tasks that the Mayor and Common Council assigned to me was to negotiate the terms of the City’s acquisition of the former BB&T Bank building. I’ve been involved in every facet of the project, from helping to select the project architect and the general contractor to picking out the building furniture package. I’m glad that I’ll have the opportunity to finalize the relocation of the city’s administrative staff to the new location before my departure in May. I’m also pleased that the Mayor and Common Council were open to my idea of creating a strategic plan to serve as a road map for the city government, beginning in calendar year 2018.

Q: What brought you to the job?

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A: At the time I joined the City of Westminster, I had worked in local government management for 30 years, including employment with two municipalities in the state of Maryland. The Westminster city administrator position offered me the opportunity to continue working in the field that I loved, and to be a part of leading the city government and the Westminster community into the future.

Q: How does Westminster compare to cities you worked with in the past?

A: One of the things that I’ve learned over my long career in local government is that there are a lot of similarities from community to community. Residents want to feel safe in the city in which they live, and enjoy a high quality of life. Like Westminster, the communities that I worked in previously had a rich history, a strong sense of community and a “small town feel.”

Q: What will you do next?

A: My husband is retiring from his current position on April 30, 2021. His retirement offers us the opportunity to pursue a different life course that we have long talked about, hopefully including a home on the water.

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