Council agrees on Public Safety director qualifications

| 24 May 2012 | 01:49

WEST MILFORD — The township council has agreed on a list of qualifications and duties for the person who will be appointed as the township's director of Public Safety. The council Wednesday night agreed on the list and will have a second reading of the revised ordinance at the June 27 meeting before adopting it.

For many years, the township's police chief was named its director of Public Safety. Last year, when Mayor Bettina Bieri appointed Gene Chiosie to the position of police chief, she didn't include director of Public Safety because she found that the code stated there is no such position. Since then, the code was amended to resolve the conflict but the council tabled the appointment of Chiosie to the position so they could identify qualifications and duties for the position. Shortly after the council tabled the appointment, Chiosie announced his retirement.

Earlier this month, the council came up with its list of qualifications for the director of Public Safety. Those qualifications include:

U.S. citizenship high school graduate

possess a minimum of a two-year degree in criminal justice, fire science or related field, a four-year degree preferred

appropriate background check minimum of 10 years' experience in professional law enforcement (at least 5 of them at a supervisory level)

experience with the fire department or emergency management preferred

EMT and CPR certification preferred

knowledge and basic skills in the operation of various fire and emergency medical apparatus

ability to prepare memoranda and reports that may be used in a court of law

ability to prepare and administer an annual budget

enact and enforce departmental policies, rules procedures

At the May 2 council meeting, the council went over the suggested qualifications. While all seemed to agree that the police chief is the most qualified person for the position, some council members felt the qualifications should be added to the ordinance so that an additional position is not added down the road. Bieri pointed out that the salary ordinance precluded a second paid individual as the director of Public Safety and states there is no compensation associated with this position. She also said the best qualifications for the director of Public Safety position are also held by the chief of police.

The chief of police is a civil service position. The director of Public Safety is not but would oversee all public safety departments including the police department. The original language in the code stated that the director of Public Safety must also be the chief of police; it was deemed illegal by labor council and the amendment corrected that.