Longport Borough Hall

LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners is considering hiring an administrator or manager, at least on a part-time basis to oversee borough operations, they said at their Sept. 6 work session.

Right now, Jenna Kelly performs many jobs outside the scope of being a chief financial officer, Mayor Nicholas Russo said.

In addition to offering employee assistance and human resources services, many of the jobs she performs outside her scope of financial work involve accountability, which may not be appropriate in today’s “litigious society,” Russo said.

Under an interlocal agreement with Margate that was approved in June, Kelly will provide the city with finance assistance until Dec. 31, with the ability to extend the agreement on a month-to-month basis. Margate compensates the borough $75 for every hour Kelly works for Margate.

“I personally would like to see this take place in January, even if we have to contract with a management company,” Russo said.

He asked Commissioners Jim Leeds and Dan Lawler to review a job description and contract requirements.

“I think this is the right direction,” Russo said.

Leeds said he spoke with Kelly about it, and thinks “with the staff we have now, a manager is a good idea,” he said.

Leeds would like to see the manager facilitate and oversee additional recreation programs at the basketball courts, he said.

Additionally, a manger could look into problems or questions that arise in the course of business and offer commissioners additional information before they make decisions, he said.

Russo said the manager could also review outside vendor contracts and ensure they are upheld, supervise department heads, and perform other managerial functions.

“I’ve never been for a full-time, but after speaking with Jenna, I think part-time two days is great,” Lawler said.

“For one thing, we cannot speak outside the commissioner forum,” however, a manager could represent the borough to the public, he said.

“It would move things faster,” Lawler said.

Both Margate and Ventnor use Jersey Professional Management Corp. of Cranford for administrative services.

JPM recruits experienced municipal professionals, some of whom have retired, who provide administrative support to municipalities on a part- or full-time temporary basis. According to its website, JPM’s services cover “a full range of municipal activity and responsibilities, including efficiency studies, department reviews, salary surveys, and more.”

Ventnor recently renewed its contract with JPM, which has been in effect for two years. JPM is being paid $110 on a voucher for every hour Acting Temporary Administrator Maria Mento works not to exceed $137,500. For Workers Compensation and other insurance purposes, Mento also receives $10 per hour on payroll. She works three days a week but is on call 24-7. JPM is also contracted to provide management consulting services not to exceed $12,150.

In January, Margate extended for one year its contract with JPM for Richard Deaney to continue to serve as temporary acting administrator and management consultant not to exceed 1,200 hours at a rate of $120 per hour, with $110 paid through vouchers and $10 on the regular payroll account.

The commissioners will review drafts of contracts agreements and move on it at a future meeting.

Categories: Longport