BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Mayor-Elect Matthew Moench has announced he is nominating former Congressman Michael J. Pappas to serve as Bridgewater Township administrator for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

The administrator position is one appointed by advise and consent of council, and it will be voted on during the reorganization meeting in January.

"I am confident I will have the council's support," Moench said.

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Pappas will replace current administrator James Naples, who served the township for 16 years.

"I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next," Moench said.

Moench said Pappas will also serve with council vice president Howard Norgalis as co-chairman of a transition team to aid in preparing for the transfer of responsibilities between the current administration under Dan Hayes and Moench's administration following the reorganization meeting in January.

"Bridgewater Township has nearly 45,000 residents and spans over 30 square miles," Moench said. "Our town is at the crossroads of Central Jersey and faces a broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities. Our township administrator must have a wealth of experience managing government organizations, be a proven problem-solver and be able to provide our residents with a responsive, user-friendly government."

"In Mike Pappas, we have checked every one of those boxes, and have found an individual who will be ready to start delivering for Bridgewater residents on his very first day," Moench added.

Pappas comes from the Borough of High Bridge, in Hunterdon County, where he has served as borough administrator since 2016, and also holds licenses or certifications as an affordable housing professional, certified municipal registrar and a zoning official. He is a former mayor of Franklin Township and former Somerset County Freeholder.

Pappas was elected in 1996 to serve in the 105th United States Congress from New Jersey's 12th District. He also served as a regional administrator and associate administrator of field operations for the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2001 until 2009.

Currently, Pappas serves on the Somerset County Board of Taxation, and volunteers his time with the Somerset County 4-H.

"I am excited to take on the challenge of helping to govern this great community," Pappas said in a release. "I represented Bridgewater on the freeholder board and am well aware of this town's rich history. This is a town with a great sense of community and a bright dynamic future. I share Mayor-Elect Moench's vision of a responsive common-sense government, and am honored to be joining his team in this leadership role."

"Howard and I are already working with residents and stakeholders so this new administration will be prepared to get to work for Bridgewater's taxpayers on its first day in office," he added.

Moench said in the release that Pappas will help lead the town forward in the fight to stop overdevelopment, bring fiscal responsibility to the budget and implement a plan to improve the town's roads.

"As we get ready to start a new decade, suburban communities like Bridgewater face challenges that are as complex as they are novel," Moench said in the release. "As we navigate these turbulent waters, we need to stand together as a community and strive to keep Bridgewater a town we can be proud of."