LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the second time in Livingston history, the township officially passed a resolution to appoint a new township manager. Greg Bonin, who was accompanied by his family at Monday’s mayor and council meeting, was unanimously voted into the position after a search process that took almost a full year.
Bonin, who was described by the third-party consultant used to find him as “modest yet confident in his knowledge and ability to oversee the various departments and activities of the town,” will officially take over the position on Aug. 7.
“I think this is going to hopefully be very enjoyable and meaningful work for you,” Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein said to Bonin on Monday. “We know how much you’re bringing to the table in terms of your expertise and in terms of your drive. You’re looking for something to get your hands around and I think this town’s going to be a great project for you to maintain and help us grow.”
A resident and 18-year township administrator of Branchburg, Bonin’s experience includes being the borough clerk for Millstone for the past 15 years, a qualified purchasing agent, President of the NJ Municipal Managers Association since 2014 and a member of both the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and the Municipal Clerks Association of New Jersey.
In addition to having a Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University, Bonin also has experience in other areas, including human resource administration, goals and objectives, contract negotiation, purchasing, information technology, public relations, budgets and strategic planning.
His appointment is the result of a search process conducted by Government Management Advisors, which interviewed all council members individually to identify characteristics that were universally desired before looking for candidates. More than 70 resumes were then received and more than a dozen individuals were interviewed by a carefully selected group of community representatives and a group of township department heads.
“This has only been done a couple times in our history and we were very deliberate, we took our time, we did our homework and looked at dozens and dozens of resumes,” said Livingston Councilman Al Anthony. “I think he’s going to do a great job and I’m very happy that we’re entering this resolution tonight.”
Anthony also thanked the many residents, department heads and consultants who helped the township with the search process over the last year.
“We wish you all the success because your success is our success,” said Councilman Michael Silverman, who echoed Anthony’s sentiments by reiterating the council’s thanks to all those who assisted the council in making this rare but crucial change in management.
Councilman Rudy Fernandez also voted in favor of hiring Bonin, who he said council members felt was the absolute best person for the job following the lengthy search process.
He also reiterated his gratitude toward Russell Jones, Jr., who was honored earlier in the evening for stepping up as acting township manager during the last year. Thanks to Jones, who Fernandez said was able to “keep the ship going forward,” the council was able to take its time in interviewing candidates and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses as well as whether each candidate would fit into the community.
“It was important that we look at people and pick the right person for this community,” said Fernandez. “We were able to look and deliberate and get the right person. We went through a number of very qualified candidates, but it was important that we deduct the best one for Livingston.”
Deputy Mayor Ed Meinhardt said it was a “representation of this town” to see how many of those who helped with the process attended Monday’s meeting to witness Bonin’s appointment.
“I also want to really thank my fellow council members,” said Meinhardt. “I’m very proud of the work that we did to get to this point. This is not something that gets done often in this town—We put in a lot of hard work, a lot of thought, and a lot of good discussion went into this decision.”
Klein, who stated during the search process that the council would “not settle until [it] found the right applicant for Livingston,” said he now believes the township has finally found the right fit.
“This was not a lackluster effort,” he said. “We really put our time and energy in and we think that we have a lot to show for our time and energy.”
Klein said he hopes and expects that Bonin will do a great job as he “settles in for the long term to continue Livingston’s tradition of excellence.”
To read about the commendation presented to Jones for his 45 dedicated years of service to the township, click HERE.