ST. JOSEPH — Berrien County commissioners on Thursday are expected to hire South Haven Manager Brian Dissette as the county's new administrator, Chairman Mac Elliott said Wednesday afternoon.
Elliott said all of the county commissioners have talked with Dissette informally. They will formally interview him on Thursday.
"All of the feedback has been positive," Elliott said. "He has a lot going for him."
Elliott said that after Thursday's 11 a.m. interview, he expects commissioners to approve hiring Dissette.
"Then we will proceed with negotiations, put together a contract and bring him on board around the first of July," he said.
Board meetings are being held virtually on Zoom due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19. Residents can watch the meeting and interview streamed live on the county's YouTube channel.
If hired, Dissette will take the place of Administrator Bill Wolf, who is retiring June 12.
Elliott said the county received about 15 applications for the position. He said commissioners initially planned to interview two candidates, but one dropped out at the last minute for family reasons.
He said Dissette has a lot of experience managing surrounding municipalities, including having interned with Berrien County in 2002 when he was working on his master's degree in public administration.
"He's solid," Elliott said. "The more information we gathered on him, the better in terms of his qualifications and his personal and professional background and his demeanor."
The South Haven City Council last July approved extending Dissette's contract for another year and increasing his salary to $110,000, along with paying him a one-time bonus of $5,000.
He was hired as South Haven's assistant city manager in 2006 before being named the city manager in 2008.
Prior to working for South Haven, Dissette was city manager in Watervliet for five years.
As city manager in South Haven for the past 12 years, Dissette has overseen many infrastructure improvements, including the complete reconstruction of Williams, Phoenix and Center streets, downtown, along with Monroe Boulevard and portions of Kalamazoo Street; $20 million worth of improvements to the city's wastewater treatment plant; completion of a new water filtration plant; and several million dollars worth of improvements at North and South beaches,
Dissette earned his master’s degree in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University. A South Haven native, he is married to Kelly Getman-Dissette. They have three children.