AUGUSTA, Maine -- Commissioner Roland D. Martin announced today that Lt. Nathaniel Berry IV is his choice to fill the vacating colonel position in the Warden Service.
"Lieutenant Nathaniel Berry, IV possesses the necessary leadership and management skills needed to perform the duties of Chief Warden. He is an excellent communicator and is well respected by both his superiors and subordinates," said Martin.
The governor expressed similar sentiments in praise of Berry.
"Lieutenant Berry has accumulated an exemplary record of service," said Governor Baldacci. "As Chief Warden, he will enhance the ability of the Warden Service to protect our precious wildlife resources and public safety."
Berry, a 31-year veteran of the warden service, will succeed Colonel Tim Peabody, who announced his planned retirement in January.
"We will continue to build on our successes, as well as look to improve. I plan to expand our involvement within the community, and work closer with the different bureaus within the department," said Berry
Berry rose to the top position through what Commissioner Martin termed a "deliberate and methodical process" from a field of ten game wardens who applied for the position of colonel.
"I want to thank the ten men and women who submitted their name for consideration," said Martin, "I was pleased that there were ten members who stepped forward and applied."
The field of ten was initially narrowed down to three by a committee of eight convened by Commissioner Martin that included a County Sheriff, a retired state police lieutenant and six members of the Maine Warden service. Then a five member interview board that included the County Sheriff, the retired police lieutenant, a game warden sergeant, a district game warden and the commissioner interviewed the three candidates.
"It is important that the warden service and the department continues to work with our key supporting groups, but also reach out to other conservation groups as well as civic organizations," said Berry.
Berry will have the chance to work with present colonel Peabody until his last planned day of work on July 2, 2004.
"I have the advantage of working with the present colonel until he retires, calling upon his expertise concerning the budget and the bureau's priorities," said Berry.
"The colonel position is the top position in the Warden Service, and he directs 125 employees and maintains a $12 million budget, He is a key member of my staff, and he is responsible for the department's law enforcement program," said Martin.
Berry's upcoming challenges will include the new biennial budget, and the results of an independent departmental review by a consulting firm.
"There are concerns in the field about the upcoming budget as well as the restructuring we went through as a result of last year's budget. I plan to review these changes, the resulting levels of supervision, and incorporate recommendations from the department review to make the division even stronger," said Berry.
Berry began his career as a district game warden in 1972 in Gray. In 1985, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant, then in 1990, he became one of five game warden lieutenants, in command of Division A which was headquartered in Gray, a position he held until the warden service was restructured in 2003. He then was reassigned as lieutenant of the southern division and was based in Augusta.
Berry's resume includes an Exemplary Service Award and in 1983, he was named the Maine Warden Service Warden of the Year. He has served as both the president and vice president of the Maine Warden Service Association, and in 1984 he received the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Officer of the Year Award for Maine.
"Next year, the warden service will celebrate their 125th anniversary. As we approach this milestone, the Maine Warden Service needs and deserves a leader that has a clear vision, is willing to think outside the box and is not afraid to take on difficult challenges," said Martin.
"I want to thank Aroostook County Sheriff James Madore, retired State Police Lieutenant Herb Morse, and the following members of the Maine Warden Service: Sergeants Mike Marshall, Brian Gray, Tim Place; Chief Pilot Charles Later and District Game Wardens Tom Jacobs and Mark Thompson for their service on the selection panel," said Martin.