Borough council launches borough administrator search

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Entering the Borough of Mantoloking. FILE PHOTO

MANTOLOKING — The borough council Tuesday named a Business Administrator Advisory Search Committee to find and evaluate potential candidates for the recently created part-time post. 

The committee consists of Mayor Lance White as chairman, Councilwoman Lynn O’Mealia, Nancy Van Duyne, Susan Voorhees and Borough Attorney Jean Cipriani.

The position created in March will “provide assistance to elected officials and borough staff by facilitating the proper administration of the affairs of the municipality while preserving the character and culture-specific to the Borough of Mantoloking,” according to the ordinance.

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The part-time salary is set between $30,000 to $60,000 per year.

The creation of the position has been at the center of discussion by the council over the past six months, linking back to an initial discussion in 2017. 

Ultimately, a report developed by Cotter Strategies outlining borough processes recommended the creation of the position. Last year, the council created the Municipal Administrator Advisory Committee, which, after months of work, found a need for the position. 

The position is to provide “structured managerial support” to improve borough operations and mitigate the potential disruption occasioned by the turnover of elected officials. 

Officials expect the part-time administrator will serve as a liaison among departments, improving communications and implementing borough policies.

Councilman Steve Gillingham, who has fully opposed the creation and hiring of the position, was the only member of council to vote against the resolution. 

“I will vote no on this resolution but not because I don’t approve of the people being appointed to the committee. On the contrary, I consider them some of Mantoloking’s most capable and accomplished,” he said. 

“Instead, I want to continue expressing my conviction that creating the position of municipal administrator constitutes a proposed change in the way Mantoloking conducts its business and is a bad idea at a bad time.”

Mr. Gillingham went on to say that no Mantoloking official has identified any problem, practice, or situation for a municipal administrator to address. 

He said Chris Cotter of Cotter Strategies, a retired administrator in Summit, failed to cite any specific ways the new position would benefit the borough.

“It’s a bad time because, in the Summit administrator’s words: ‘the borough is fortunate to have a staff – although small – that operates efficiently and with a high degree of dedication to their respective roles and to the municipality as a whole,’” said Mr. Gillingham.

He said the borough’s current municipal administrators have the “training and experience in their areas of responsibility to carry out their functions autonomously,” working together and being informative and effective. 

“Finally, it just does not make sense for the smallest of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities, with 20 full-time employees earning salaries ranging from $59,000 to $162,000, and one of the state’s 20 highest and Ocean County’s highest average property tax bills, to be considering increasing rather than stabilizing the size and cost of municipal government,” he concluded.

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