23 people from 12 states wanted to lead the city of Beaufort. You can meet the 3 finalists

The city of Beaufort has narrowed its pool of candidates for city manager to three finalists — the city’s current deputy city manager, Beaufort County’s human resources director and a city manager for another South Carolina city.

Residents can meet the three finalists at a “meet-and-greet” at 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Landing Pad, 500 Carteret St.

They are:

Reece Bertholf
Reece Bertholf

Reece Bertholf, the city’s deputy city manager, a Minnesota native who enlisted in the Marines after high school, which eventually brought him to Beaufort. He began a firefighting career with the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department in 2001 and rose to fire chief in 2015 before being named deputy city manager in 2021. Bertholf has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina Beaufort, an MBA from The Citadel and an executive certificate in public leadership from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Matthew DeWitt
Matthew DeWitt

Matthew DeWitt, the city manager for the city of Newberry, S.C. since 2016. He was assistant city manager as well and also served as the city’s Community and Economic Development director. He has a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Newberry College, an MS in athletic administration from Troy University and a masters of public administration from Clemson University.

Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall, director of human resources for Beaufort County. The Danville, Virginia, native is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who was appointed executive director of the Beaufort County Board of Elections and Voter Registration after a 23-year military career. In 2013, he became director of Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services. He then joined the Town of Bluffton as deputy and interim town manager before joining Beaufort County in the human services role. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a master of public administration from American Public University.

Twenty-three people from 12 states applied for the city’s top job.

The city manager, who reports to the City Council, is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the city, a $28 million budget and long-term strategic planning. The hiring decision comes as $50 million in approved infrastructure projects are commencing or about to, and as the city wrestles with growth, a shortage of affordable housing, attracting police officers and fine tunes its design standards.

The city launched a nationwide search in September after Bill Prokop announced he was retiring.

Earlier this month, council members interviewed six applicants in executive session before deciding on the finalists, who are scheduled to be interviewed again by City Council members Wednesday.

A decision is expected by mid-December.

It’s the second major position that they city has needed to fill this year. In October, the city hired Curt Freese as its Economic and Community Development director.

Freese currently is the director of the Community Development Department at Berthoud, Colorado. He is scheduled to start the job after Jan. 1.