‘Personnel issue’ causes Longport to reorganize commissioner assignments

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LONGPORT – Following a 30-minute executive session Tuesday, April 8, the Board of Commissioners agreed to revise commissioner appointments and duties.

Mayor Nicholas Russo gave a brief statement following three unanimous votes to approve the new assignments and realigned duties.

“Due to personnel issues, which our solicitor has advised me not to make any comments about until they are fully resolved, the commissioners have chosen to realign and redefine their duties and responsibilities,” Russo said.

Russo and borough attorney Pat Agnellini declined discussion on the issue and the employees involved, but both confirmed that the municipality has not received any tort claim notices informing the borough that a legal suit is pending.

Russo will continue to serve as director of public safety and public affairs. He will assume certain duties that were part of the revenue and finance department, including oversight of elections, personnel administration, office management and Borough Hall.

James P. Leeds was moved from public works, parks and public property and appointed to oversee revenue and finance, which includes the offices of the assessor, CFO, tax collector, bookkeeping, beach fee administration, tax lien foreclosures, auditor, and insurance, bonds and contingent funds.

Daniel Lawler was moved from revenue and finance to public works, parks and public property and will assume supervision of the construction code and code enforcement departments in addition to streets, engineer, parks, playgrounds, beaches, jetties, lighting, trash and recycling, water and all public buildings.

Lawler also declined discussing the personnel issue, but agreed the changes were best for the borough.

He said Leeds was very good at managing the public works department, but the commissioners thought it was best to make the changes at this time.

“I have no problem with the change, in fact, I’m looking forward to learning a new department,” he said.

Lawler said public works will require more of his time and that he would miss working with finance department personnel.

“The public works guys are good and know what has to be done,” he said.

Leeds was not available for comment.

 


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