Council postpones appointment of administrator

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:28

    Wants more qualified candidates before choosing WEST MILFORD - Despite her insistence that her candidate is the best qualified for the job, Mayor Bettina Bieri agreed to postpone the appointment of administrator and continue searching for other qualified candidates for the position. Some councilmembers said they would feel better if they had a choice and not just one person from which to choose. “The qualifications were there,” said Councilman Ed Rosone, adding he would prefer to meet and interview other applicants before choosing. “I want to have the chance to meet some of the other applicants. It would be a disservice not to meet a few more applicants. That’s just my feeling moving forward.” He wasn't alone. Councilmen Lou Signorino and Joe Smolinski also wanted other candidates from which to choose. “I discussed this with the mayor and I find it hard to make a decision,” said Signorino. “I don't want to take away from the mayor her responsibility to appoint the administrator, but I have no data to compare.” In West Milford’s form of government the mayor appoints certain positions, including the administrator, with the advice and consent of the council. Bieri introduced her choice for the position to the council in executive session after the Jan. 7 workshop. The candidate is currently working for another municipality, which is why the candidate's identity has not been mentioned publicly. Councilwoman Ada Erik was ready to approve the applicant, noting she did some research after interviewing the candidate. Erik called the applicant “a bargain” and said the township should make an offer. She said she called 18 other towns while doing her research, getting salaries, qualifications and experience. “To me it's a win-win,” said Erik. The last time the township looked for an administrator it took 18 months. That is when the former administrator, Kevin Boyle, took the helm in 2009. He did not seek reappointment and left the township in December. Bieri, who interviewed a dozen potential candidates, said she must nominate the candidates before the council can vote on them. She said she wasn't comfortable nominating the others. “I heard nothing but positive comments from Councilwomen Erik and Horton, and concern from Signorino,” said Bieri, noting she didn’t hear anything at all from Smolinski, Rosone and Ramaglia. Ramaglia chose not to interview the candidate at the executive session. “We did express concern in executive session in how it was presented,” said Rosone. He suggested Bieri keep looking for two more candidates. “One is not a choice,” he said. Won't repeat history “I didn't get the choice in 2009,” said Bieri. “I had one individual hoisted on me. I will not let history repeat itself.” At that time Bieri, a Democrat, was starting the second year of her first term as mayor with a solidly Republican council. Although she still has only one Democratic ally on the council, Republicans Ada Erik and Lou Signorino have not voted strictly along party lines. "I will not be forced into an appointment I'm not comfortable with," she added. Bieri agreed to continue looking. “If you're not willing to approve the resolution tonight, I ask them to table it and I'll look to find other candidates,” said Bieri. “As of right now, there are none.” The council next meets on Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.