BELMAR, NJ — Belmar has named a new management team for its beach patrol that will be led by a seasoned law enforcement professional with years of water safety experience.
Eric Kerecman has been named lifeguard director, having recently retired as a detective and water safety instructor with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, according to the April 5 announcement by the borough.
“A longtime Monmouth County resident and former lifeguard, Eric is passionate about water and the safety of beachgoers,” said Mayor Matthew Doherty in the statement. “We welcome Eric to the Belmar beachfront and have recommended to him a wealth of talent from our existing ranks that will help him build his management team.”
Rounding out the leadership team will be Gene Cory, a former Belmar beachfront supervisor who will serve as beachfront director, and assistant directors Casey Casserly, Jeff Coviello and Kate Honin, according to the statement. While Casserly and Honin both were employed last year as part the borough’s seasonal beachfront staff, Coviello is a newcomer to Belmar.
Their appointments come nearly two months after borough officials launched a major effort to restructure lifeguard operations, based on a recommendation by Belmar Police Chief Andrew Huisman as a way to improve an operation that is vital to safety along the 1.3-mile beachfront, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
According to Doherty, Cory “ran the Belmar beachfront for many years and will be coming back from retirement to lead a new generation of beachfront management,” Doherty said. “We are excited to have Gene back and look forward to fun and full season on the Belmar beachfront.”
Casserly, Coviello and Honin will oversee staff training and the day-to-day beachfront operations, bringing “enthusiasm, dedication and experience to the Belmar beachfront,” the mayor added.
Chosen from more than 30 applications, the appointments were unanimously recommended by a selection committee consisting of Huisman, Business Administrator Colleen Connolly and Council President Brian Magovern.
The decision to take the beach patrol “in a new direction” has drawn opposition from those who have served in managerial and rank-and-file lifeguard positions — some for decades. All were encouraged to reapply for their posts, although many criticized having to do so, and voiced their disapproval at several borough council meetings.
Now the new management team is expected to play an integral role in selecting the rank-and-file lifeguards for the upcoming season.
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