LIVINGSTON, NJ — After being vacant for several months, the position of Livingston Township Manager has been officially filled by Barry Lewis, Jr., who will begin full time on March 1.

The Livingston Township Council, which unanimously voted to appoint Lewis on Monday, has conducted an extensive search and interviewed numerous candidates in order to identify an individual to fill the position. The council ultimately determined that hiring Lewis would put the township in the best possible position to deal with the concerns and challenges that face the community now and in the future.

Lewis, who most recently served as the Village Administrator for South Orange Village since 2012, will become the fourth township manager in Livingston history.

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“[This council] works well together, we support each other and having Barry here is really an indication of the hard work that we do,” said Mayor Ed Meinhardt. “The expression ‘good things come to those who wait’—this is what happens when you wait and you do it right and, Barry, good things do come to Livingston. We welcome you and we look forward to many, many years of you being here and working hard for the town.”

Lewis thanked the mayor and council for their confidence and said he was impressed with the level of commitment from the citizen volunteers and how seriously they took the process. He said their involvement in the process affirmed what a special community Livingston is and why it is one he wants to be a part of for a long time.

“There were a lot of people invested in this process, a lot of people cared about this process,” said Councilman Shawn Klein. “It was very important to find someone who understood what Livingston is like and how much heart and soul residents have and how invested they are in this town and I think we finally have that person.”

“This was a long process and it was detailed and the one thing we said was that if we were going to do it, we were going to it right and we were going to do it respectfully,” said Councilman Michael Silverman. “I think we absolutely did that.”

Councilman Rudy Fernandez echoed these congratulations and also acknowledged the volunteers who joined a citizens committee and an employee group that were formed in order to make the search a township-wide process. Some of these community members, including former mayor Stephen Santola, Essex County Freeholder Pat Sebold and a handful of other residents, congratulated the mayor and council for doing their due diligence to find the right person and wished Lewis well in his new position.

Deputy Mayor Al Anthony, who had the opportunity to work with Lewis on a shared-service agreement during his year as mayor, said that every time he has worked with Lewis, it was with “unbelievable professionalism” and that he is enthusiastic about his appointment.

In addition to his work in South Orange, Lewis’ qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from The University of South Florida, a law degree from Florida State University College of Law and a New Jersey Certified Municipal Finance Officer Certificate. Since 1998, he has also been a township/borough administrator in various New Jersey communities, including Mountain Lakes, Spring Hill and Mine Hill.

According to the township, Lewis’ vast knowledge and rich experience in a neighboring community will help him understand the high level of service that Livingston residents have come to expect.

The township believes that his years in South Orange have provided Lewis with a critical understanding of the importance of pulling together historical foundations with future aspirations. In his new position, Lewis will be tasked with helping the Township of Livingston maintain its reputation as a desirable location for those of all ages and generations, and working to increase the township’s opportunities for future growth and development.