FLEMINGTON, NJ – In a move that surprised some, today was Megan Jones-Holt's last as executive director of the board that runs the borough’s Business Improvement District.
Among those that was surprised is Flemington’s Mayor Phil Greiner.
“I found out last week that she was advised by one or more members of the BID executive board that she’d be laid off,” Greiner said about Jones-Holt. “It surprised all of us.” Greiner said that the layoff decision was made by the executive committee and that one of the BID’s office workers was also laid off.
Jones-Holt enjoyed enthusiastic support from many on the BID board, including board chair Susan Peterson, who has told officials that the success of the BID’s events and in attracting new businesses was to Jones-Holt’s credit. Greiner said that the decision was “a matter of finances, not performance.”
Borough Council will vote Monday on whether it should “de-designate” the current BID board. Council introduced an ordinance authorizing just that on March 2. If it is approved, council will name three people to begin a new BID board; those three will then select those that will join them on the new board.
Greiner said it’s possible that Jones-Holt will again be chosen executive director of the BID. “That will be up to the new board,” Greiner said.
Greiner said the BID has notified the landlord of its Main Street headquaters that it will break its lease and vacate the building by May 3.
Jones-Holt said she loved the job of executive director.
"It tapped into every skill set that I have," she said in an interview this afternoon. Holt served for years on Clinton Council and the Clinton Planning Board as well as serving on other boards. As a district governor of the Rotary, she managed 1,200 volunteers. That job required her to prepare budgets and provide annual reports - all tasks she also undertook for the BID board. Jones-Holt was also involved with event planning when she and her husband Matt Holt - who is a Hunterdon County freeholder - owned Celebration Party Rentals. And she completed a Rutgers program that trained and certified her as an executive director.
Jones-Holt said she had been looking forward to accomplishing her goals this year, including implementing consultant Roger Brooks' action plan and the borough's streetscape plan, for which she helped get a $1 million grant. "I hope all those things happen, even if I'm not there," she said.
The borough's likely decision to create a new board to manage the BID doesn't mean that the existing board will evaporate. "They have a responsibility to continue to manage the organization," she said.
It isn’t clear whether the BID’s executive board’s action was made in public. The BID cancelled without public notice its most recent regular meeting, which was to be held at 8:30 a.m. March 2.