WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield resident Parag Patel was appointed and sworn in as the town of Westfield’s new municipal judge during Tuesday night’s town council meeting.
Patel, who serves as a Boy Scout leader at Edison Intermediate School, has been a municipal judge in Edison, NJ.
Also appointed that night were new Municipal Prosecutor Yvette Gibbons and new Public Defender Robert Bohrod. Westfield Mayor Tom Jardim will remain town attorney for the rest of of 2018. Jardim has been serving as town attorney since he was appointed short-term on Jan. 2.
The town had put out a request for qualifications earlier this month.
“We received several applications for every position, which was great,” Mayor Shelley Brindle told the town council during its conference meeting Tuesday night.
Attorney applications were reviewed by a group of residents (mostly attorneys themselves) who then made recommendations, Brindle said.
“I felt really good about the process,” Brindle said. “This is the first time we’ve done a process like this and I expect to do it every single year ... I just think it’s a way to keep people on their toes and fresh and always make sure that we’re getting the best qualified people and then ultimately ensure that we’re getting the fairest rate.”
When it came to choosing a judge, what was most important was that the candidate had a Westfield connection, Brindle told the council.
“The first qualification is looking within our own community,” she said. The other important qualifiers to her were fairness and efficiency, Brindle told the council.
The town will continue to work with Steve Rogut for bond counsel, Fred Danser for labor counsel and Jonathan Drill as COAH counsel.