Neal G. Berlin is a former city administrator of Ann Arbor, who served in that position from 1995 to 2001. Prior to that he was city manager for Arvada, Colorado, from March 1986 to January 1995. From 1975-1986 he was city manager for Iowa City, Iowa, and he served as town manager for Hanover, New Hampshire from 1967-1975.
Berlin's hire by the Ann Arbor city council was approved at a Sept. 15, 1995 special meeting. The vote was split 6-3, with some councilmembers favoring another candidate, Roger Crum. Voting in favor of Berlin's hire were Tobi Hanna-Davies, Patricia Vereen-Dixon, Jean Carlberg, Stephen Hartwell, Chris Kolb, and Mayor Ingrid Sheldon. Voting against his hire were Peter Fink, Jane Lumm, and Peter Nicolas. Two councilmembers – Haldon Smith and Elisabeth L. Daley – were absent.
During his six-year tenure in Ann Arbor, Berlin significantly downsized the number of city employees, in large part by creating an early-retirement package that led to the departure of more than 130 workers. His own departure was somewhat controversial because the city changed its pension plan vesting period under his tenure from 10 years to 5 years, allowing him to receive a full pension. That vesting change had been authorized by the city council in October 1999.
An article published by the ICMA (International City/County Management Association) described Berlin's management style as guarded: "Berlin was so wary of being caught up in council infighting that he had it put in his contract that council people were not to give him orders individually."
He received a masters in public administration from University of Michigan and his bachelors degree in political science from Illinois Wesleyan University. In 1960, the Michigan Municipal League published a research report authored by Berlin, titled "The Michigan City Manager in Council Proceedings." At the time, Berlin was a graduate student at the University of Michigan's Institute of Public Administration.
In the news
Don't follow your bliss. Follow the pension! Jo Mathis for the Ann Arbor News, May 26, 2009
Note: Neal Berlin's name is frequently misspelled in news articles as "Neil" Berlin.