BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- Council approved a one-month extension of its shared services agreement for certified public works management with Union County at its Dec. 17 meeting.

The agreement, which was first signed last year at the Jan. 1, reorganization meeting, provides for the township to employ Joseph Graziano eight hours a week as its DPW director. Graziano is the director of the Union County Engineering, Public Works and Facilities Management departments, and the former director of the Berkeley Heights DPW.

Mayor Angie Devanney called this a “straight forward, one-month extension” of the agreement because without it, there would be several days, in the middle of winter, during which there would not be a DPW director in place. The current agreement ends on Dec. 31, 2019.

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The extension allows the arrangement to continue for the month of January and gives council members an opportunity to discuss how the arrangement has worked in the past year and decide if they support continuing the shared services agreement.

During the meeting, Council members Jeanne Kingsley and Manny Couto questioned why the agreement had to be extended for a month.

If no action is taken to extend the contract for a month, there is a possibility that inclement weather or a vote against the shared services agreement could leave the township without a DPW head for some period of time.  

Both the Township and the County governing bodies must adopt the agreement for it to go into effect, so if it were not to be renewed, the township would need to advertise the position, interview possible candidates for the job and hire a DPW head. During that period there would be no official head of the DPW.

The resolution to extend the shared services agreement was approved by a vote of 3–2, with Council President Alvaro Medeiros, Council Vice President Susan Poage and Councilman Pete Bavoso voting in favor of the extension and Council members Manny Couto and Jeanne Kingsley voting against it. Councilman Stephen Yellin abstained. It is expected that the shared services agreement will be discussed at an executive session at the reorganization meeting,  which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 2, at Town Hall, 29 Park Ave., at 7 p.m. Newly elected council member Gentiana Brahimaj​ and returning Councilman Manuel Couto will be sworn in during that meeting.

The final vote on the shared services agreement is expected to take place on Jan. 21.

Other News 

The mayor and council issued a proclamation honoring the Governor Livingston High School Varsity Cross Country for its achievements during the 2019 season. 

The team won the Mountain Division of the County Conference Championships on Oct. 17, and, in late October, they came in fourth at the Union County Championships, GL’s highest finish at the county level. The team then finished second in the state sectionals, and finished ninth, in a field of 22 teams, at the state group meet. The team's Head Coach Chris Coughlin was named the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Mast Construction presented an update on construction at the Municipal Complex. The photos and a video can be found on the township’s website Municipal Complex.