Berger seen as reliable, positive presence at City Hall

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Co-workers, colleagues say she has transitioned smoothly into new role

By Marty Finley

Just two months after taking over as mayor of Elizabethtown, Edna Berger is starting to leave an imprint on those in city government.

Officials who work alongside her daily described her as a reliable decision maker and vibrant personality with a positive outlook.

City Attorney D. Dee Shaw said Berger is a “vivacious” leader who has brought a renewed energy to City Hall, possessing a presence that brings people together through her eternal optimism.

“While I miss Mayor (Tim) Walker terribly, I have highly enjoyed working with her,” Shaw said.

Police Chief Tracy Schiller said he had a great level of respect for Berger as a council member that has transferred with her appointment as mayor.

Schiller said one of Berger’s most endearing traits is a willingness to listen and a desire to make decisions through research and consideration of the facts.

Even if Berger disagrees or expresses discomfort with a position or initiative, Schiller has found she makes each decision in good faith based on what she feels is best for Elizabethtown and its residents.

“I think she’s doing a great job,” Schiller said.

Berger has looked to Executive Assistant Charlie Bryant as teacher and mentor, guiding her through channels and layers of city government once foreign.

“I think that’s been an eye-opening experience for her,” Bryant said, describing the 68-year-old as a hard worker who has tackled the job with enthusiasm, exuding a desire to absorb the details.

“She certainly does her part, and it makes our job easier,” Bryant said. ‘She’s very reliable for us, and we appreciate her for it.”

Berger was appointed by Elizabethtown City Council after Walker’s death in June. Since then, she has committed herself to keeping Walker’s legacy alive by finishing initiatives he started. She has taken over negotiations with the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame and has been at the center of a debate regarding the potential sale of the city’s water treatment and distribution system.

She also has lobbied for development of a new pool so children will have a place to learn how to swim and has suggested the city take over the annual Ghost Walk after the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Heritage Council discussed ending it.

“It’s a tradition and it draws a crowd,” she said of the walk.

Robert Bush, director of stormwater management, said Berger’s work as mayor has been an interesting and enjoyable experience he has been honored to take part in.

“She’s a wonderful person,” Bush said. “It’s really been a pleasure to go through that transition with her.”

Bush said one never knows from mayor to mayor what the transfer will look like, but Berger’s integration has been seamless, made possible by her own approach to the job.

“She’s very clear, very succinct and very decisive,” Bush said.

Finance Director Steve Park said Berger’s eyes were opened early to how much work is involved with the job, and she has responded admirably.

“She’s been a pleasure to work with,” he said. “No complaints or I would have told her. And that’s what she would have wanted.”

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.