HomeMarlton NewsFrom police officer to township manager, Barth's journey comes to an end...

From police officer to township manager, Barth’s journey comes to an end in Evesham

After working for Evesham Township for 30 years, Township Manager Michael Barth elected to retire from his position at the end of July.

Evesham Township Manager Michael Barth glances at his computer as he sits in his office in the township municipal building last Monday. Barth is retiring on July 31 after working for the township in a number of capacities for the past 30 years.

At Evesham Township Council’s July 16 meeting, Councilman Robert DiEnna remembered his thoughts when he found out Michael Barth would be retiring as chief of police in July of 2013.

“I said, you’re not going anywhere really,” DiEnna recalled. “You’ll be back within six months.”

Barth did come out of retirement, first to be a financial analyst for the police department and later to take over as township manager.

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Earlier this year, Barth announced he would retire once again at the end of July. DiEnna finished his story by saying this time, he didn’t think Barth would come out of retirement.

“He’s absolutely correct,” Barth said of DiEnna’s comments. “This is it.”

Barth is retiring three decades after first coming to Evesham Township to work with the police department in 1989. Barth began working in Evesham after about six years as an officer in Woodlynne, Collingswood and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon arriving in Evesham, Barth had bounced around to different police departments over a period of a few years. He never would have thought the next town he would work in would also be the last.

“It’s always been a really good fit for me in this town,” said Barth, who praised the residents in the township. “The workforce here has been phenomenal. It’s just one of those communities that just has that ‘it’ factor.”

Barth spent about a decade with Evesham Township Police as the deputy chief of police before moving up to the chief position in 2010. It was as deputy chief where Barth began to acquire the experience needed to be township manager later on. Barth specifically focused on areas such as contract negotiations and budgeting. Shortly after his first retirement, Barth returned to the police department to work as a business administrator and financial analyst. Barth was comfortable with the position after all of the experience he acquired as deputy chief and chief of police.

“That was kind of my niche downstairs,” Barth said. “I was the deputy chief of police for about 10 years before I became chief. I was heavily involved in all of (the finances). I did a lot of the contract negotiations. I did the budget, I put the budget together every year and was obviously heavily involved with purchasing decisions because of that.”

All of the experience in the world couldn’t fully prepare him for the scope of the township manager position. It wasn’t until Barth officially took over for outgoing manager Tom Czerniecki in 2018 when he realized how much responsibility he would have.

“The biggest surprise for me was the pace with which things are brought into the office,” Barth said. “Some days, it’s 10 or 15 new things that could be brought to your attention. Some of them are easy, quick decisions that can be made, some of them not so much. The demands on your time here are staggering at times.”

The biggest advantage coming into the job was the relationships Barth had built with the department heads. These relationships were huge as Barth noted there are some times where the township manager needs to rely on the department heads to get a project or task done.

“It definitely made it easier coming back because I did know everybody and we already had relationships established,” Barth said.

The first couple months of 2019 were an especially hectic time for Barth. He had worked closely with newly elected Mayor Jaclyn Veasy, Deputy Mayor Heather Cooper and Councilwoman Patricia Hansen on getting them up to speed on how the township operates. Then, in February, Barth suffered a heart attack. He had to undergo double bypass surgery and was out of work for a couple months.

Barth said in those months he was out, everyone else in the township building stepped up to make sure Evesham continued to operate as normal. He continually praised his colleagues for the amount of hours and hard work they put in each and every week.

“The people in this building, they’re the constant,” Barth said. “They’re here, day in and day out, they come to work, they want to do their job and they want to do it well.”

Shortly after returning to work in the spring, Barth decided he would retire. He admitted he is ready for a change of pace, saying the job of township manager can be grueling.

“This is a job that requires your full-time attention,” he said. “There’s a lot of late nights, phone calls and emails. It’s a very demanding job. I’m looking forward to a little bit of a slower pace at this point.”

Barth is hoping to relocate to Florida after his youngest daughter graduates from high school next year. He is also hoping to rekindle an old hobby, cycling, something he got into years ago but hasn’t had the time to do recently.

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