BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council recently approved ordinances to clarify police promotions and to appoint a director of municipal services, while introducing another ordinance to recognize, honor and support local U.S. military veterans.

The ordinance clarifying police promotions passed by a 5-0 vote of the council. No one from the public or the council spoke aloud about it.

The measure simplifies the procedure for the conduct of oral interview ratings for the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant. The top five and ten scoring candidates in each rank will be ultimately promoted to lieutenant or sergeant, respectively.

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The council also unanimously approved the ordinance to change the requisite qualifications of the position of director of municipal services. Previously, that position, which oversees the departments of planning, zoning, engineering, survey code and public works, also served simultaneously as the township engineer, but that will no longer be the case. 

“During the transition process and in my first few weeks of my administration, it became obvious to my staff and I that one person should not be managing the engineering department while, simultaneously, attempting to supervise a department that, next to the police department, is by far the largest in the township,” said Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench.

The appointment of the municipal services director will still require a vetting process, although the position of township engineer is not being eliminated.

“We will still have a township engineer who will perform those tasks, but we will take that burden away from the municipal services director so he or she can more efficiently manage all of the employees under their purview,” Moench said. “We will be continually analyzing the efficiency and product of not only this department, but all of the branches of our township government. There is no confusion about who pays our bills, and we need to make sure that we are spending all of our resources wisely to provide the best possible services to our residents.”

Council vice president Filipe Pedroso said it is the mayor’s role to administer the township, and that if Moench felt the need to improve the efficiency of municipal offices, he supported it.

The council also voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance that would provide for a veterans advisory committee, for both men and women who served in any of the branches of the U.S. military.

Moench said Bridgewater lacks a true organized body for veterans, although not every town has such a body. He said the intent is to appoint someone from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion to the committee, which is among a number of options the township could employ.

“Bridgewater has a rich and vibrant community of veterans and active service members,” Moench said in a prepared statement.  “I see this committee serving at least a few unique functions.”

“Firstly, it goes without saying that the township needs to ensure that we are finding every opportunity we can to honor these individuals, as well as finding new and interesting ways to provide them with services,” he added. “Additionally, we want to lean on their experiences, skill sets and exceptional commitment to civic duty so that they can help to continue to serve the residents and contribute to the betterment of our community.” 

More will be revealed about the committee in the near future. The public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the March 2 council meeting.

“I, along with the council and stakeholders, will provide additional information regarding the makeup and mission of the committee in the coming weeks,” Moench said. “This is just the first step in this long overdue process.”

“From a former Army staff sergeant, thank you,” added council president Howard Norgalis.

Councilman Michael Kirsh said the committee will provide tangible recognition of veterans by the council.