Sykesville hires former N.C. city planner as town manager


Sykesville has a new town manager, officials said yesterday.

Matthew H. Candland, 28, and a former city planner in North Carolina, will begin working March 23 in the job that James L. Schumacher, the town's first manager, has had for 10 years.

Since Mr. Schumacher announced plans to resign in November, a search committee reviewed resumes from nearly 200 applicants for the job, officials said. The annual salary ranges from $32,000 to $42,000 a year and includes a complete benefits package.

"It was certainly a lot of work," said Councilman Michael Kasnia. "We had a number of very qualified candidates."

Mr. Candland has been a city planner in two small North Carolina towns, Smithfield, a town of about 11,000 people, and Wendell, which has a population of 3,500 and closely resembles Sykesville, he said.

Last year, Mr. Candland earned a master's degree in public administration, with an emphasis on local government management, from North Carolina State University.

He now works in Rockville as volunteer coordinator for Community Ministries, an advocacy group for the needy, and also appraises residential real estate.

Mr. Candland, who lived in Maryland as a child, said he has always felt drawn to the state and its rural areas. He lives in Potomac with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children. The couple plans to move to Sykesville within a few months.

"Sykesville will be a nice place to raise the family," Mr. Candland said. "We would like to buy a home and be permanent there. We like the small-town atmosphere. We hope to get to know everyone and have an impact."

During the interview process, he met Mayor Jonathan Herman, several council members and Mr. Schumacher.

"Jim [Schumacher] is both experienced and competent, and has been a big help to me, filling me in with what I needed to know," Mr. Candland said.

"I understand he will always be available to me. I have told him that I'll probably be turning to him frequently in the next few months."

Mr. Candland already has made several trips to town and plans to continue to do so until he officially begins his job, which won the Town Council's approval last night.

In the past week, Mr. Candland said, he has spent the most time with Mayor Herman.

"I was impressed with the mayor's commitment to the town," Mr. Candland said. "He is commited to its policies and goals and is most supportive of the town manager."

Mr. Candland said his greatest concern as he begins the new job "is trying to catch up and become familiar as soon as I can."

Mr. Schumacher was able to acquire several large grants for the rapidly growing town, whose population should reach 4,000 within the next five years.

Mr. Candland, who helped secure a $40,000 downtown beautification project for Wendell, hopes to continue in that tradition.

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