VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, June 25 renewed employment contracts for its police and fire chiefs and acting administrator. Commissioner Lance Landgraf also discussed appointing a “by right” subcommittee to review requests for minor subdivisions and other Planning Board applications that do not require variances.
The board approved Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Kriebel’s recommendation to reappoint Michael Cahill as Fire Chief and Douglas Biagi as Police Chief. Cahill’s base salary will be $153,404 and Biagi’s base salary $154,942. They are one-year appointments, retroactive to Jan. 1.
Kriebel commended both chiefs for their preparedness amid the COVID-19 outbreak and collaborating to provide effective leadership during the pandemic.
Kriebel said Biagi’s response has been “stellar,” especially in enforcement of regulations he helped the city develop to protect the public.
Both chiefs work “hand-in-hand” with the Office of Emergency Management to ensure all police, firefighters, city employees and the public are safe.
The board also agreed to promote firefighter Eric A. Grant to the rank of lieutenant. He was sworn in at Firehouse No. 1 on Monday, June 29.
The board also renewed Maria Mento’s employment contract to serve as acting administrator and deputy clerk on a temporary, part-time basis through her association with Jersey Professional Management, a management and consulting firm that provides municipalities with experienced municipal officers.
Mento received a six-month contract beginning July 1 at a rate of $10 per hour on city payroll for insurance purposes and $110 per hour through JPM. The contract is not to exceed $68,750.
Commissioners agreed Mento serves as the “quarterback” of the municipal team.
The commission also approved a $6,075 contract with JPM to provide management consulting services on an as needed basis.
Following a recent Planning Board review of a minor subdivision the board was required to approve because it did not require any variances or waivers, Landgraf discussed the possibility of appointing a subcommittee to administratively review “by right” applications that meet all bulk requirements contained in the city’s zoning regulations.
The committee would be set up through the Zoning Department, which accepts applications from the public. Having applications that do not need to be brought before the all-volunteer Planning Board would be less expensive for property owners and developers, Landgraf said. Administrative review would also eliminate the need for applicants to notify property owners within 200 feet of the property being subdivided.
Resident Ralph Reinberg questioned the proposal, stating he would want to know in advance if a neighboring property was being subdivided.
Landgraf also reported that the windows in the library and Cultural Arts Center building are in the process of being replaced and the heating ducts cleaned. The library and arts center have been closed due to the coronavirus, a great time to get the work done, he said.
The vent cleaning contract includes a recurring annual maintenance plan to ensure the air flowing through the system is safe for patrons.
Also, the parking lot on Newport Avenue has been repaved and striped, and landscaping is being installed. However, the lot cannot open to the public until it is equipped with lighting and a parking meter kiosk.
The board also announced that meetings will be held in person at City Hall starting in July. Commissioners agreed that Zoom meetings were effective and they would like to consider continuing to broadcast live meetings to encourage more participation at public meetings.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9 at City Hall.
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