BELMAR, NJ — Andrew Huisman, who retired as Belmar police chief in December, is returning to the borough’s employment rolls in the Public Works Department.

During the Belmar Council’s July 21 remote meeting, Mayor Mark Walsifer announced that Huisman is being hired as an electrician, also skilled in other aspects of construction — under a $83,000 one-year contract that does not allow overtime or include benefits.

In addition to having the institutional knowledge of Belmar — serving for 27 years on the borough police force, including three as chief — Huisman’s selection was based on his expertise in the trades, said Borough Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum said.

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“If he didn’t have the skills, he wouldn’t have been considered,” he said, adding that since his retirement in December, Huisman has donated his time working on the borough’s dispatch center. “He saved us thousands of dollars in electrician and general contractor costs.”

The move also is seen as a cost-savings measure since the borough will not have to hire independent contractors for various improvement and repair projects — an expenditure that has topped $194,000 in the past four years, Kirschenbaum said

“We have the beachfront, the marina, Main Street … a lot in a small area,” he said. “It’s prudent to have professional staff on board. The addition of Mr. Huisman allows us to do more of our own work.”

And since Huisman’s hiring comes as a time when the department is experiencing a significant number of retirements among supervisory personnel, he will also be serving in a support role to Public Works director Michael Campbell, borough officials said.

“He has the leadership skills that can take the load off of Mr. Campbell (by) helping him manage projects,” Kirschenbaum said.

According to the state Department of Consumer Affairs, Huisman, 51, of Wall holds a license as an electrical contractor, issued in 1994 with its current status listed as inactive.

The hiring came under fire during this week's meeting by Belmar resident Gerald Buccafusco, who said there are individuals with “equal or better qualifications” for the job.

“The town should start doing legitimate recruitments if they really need people. You might be surprised at the type of people you’ll find,” said Buccafusco, who’s running as an independent for a seat on the governing body this fall. “This appointment is just a shameless act of cronyism, and the people of Belmar deserve better.”

RELATED: Belmar Police Chief Huisman Stepping Down after 27-Year Career on Borough's Force

 

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