Upper Township OEM coordinator Scott Morgan (left) with former Upper Township Committeeman Jeffrey Pierson at a press conference during an active shooter exercise in October.

Columb Higgins

PETERSBURG – Upper Township Committee approved Office of Emergency Management coordinator Scott Morgan to serve as its new township administrator Monday.

Morgan was appointed OEM coordinator in 2014, and served in a similar capacity in Ocean City for 30 years. He worked in the Ocean City Police Department for 25 years, most of that time as a detective and Director of Information Technology (IT). After his retirement, he was IT manager at the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office for six months before coming to Upper Township, he said.

Morgan said that background in information technology will inform some of the ways he goes about his new job.

“We are going to look at IT ways to achieve some of these things,” he said in a Tuesday interview. “What can we do more efficiently? What can we do as far as scheduling to make it fair and equitable across the board?”

Part of the process as he settles in will be looking at whether the township needs more employees, Morgan said, or whether it can restructure to accomplish things better. Township Committee members briefly discussed hiring more part-time employees last year, and said it would be a part of 2017 budget discussions.

“That’s an offshoot of the things we’re looking at,” Morgan said. “Do we need additional people or can we change the way we do things so we are more efficient.

“We’re looking at accountability and reliability for the taxpayer,” he added. “We’re analyzing some departments. It’s basically a self-analysis, how can we improve?”

Committeeman Curtis Corson said Monday that one early analysis will be looking at a long-term plan for replacing ambulances for the Upper Township Rescue Squad. A resolution to purchase a new ambulance rig had been planned for the Jan. 9 agenda, but he asked that it be delayed until Morgan has a chance to review it.

“What’s needed?” Corson said. “What’s not needed?”

He used a leaf vacuum vehicle as an example. The equipment was requested in last year’s capital bond but was ultimately not included. Public works found it could do without it, Corson said.

Morgan will continue on as OEM coordinator, and will also oversee public works, public safety, personnel, and Emergency Medical Services. He said he was proud of the accomplishments in OEM over the past three years, and credited the team at OEM for their hard work.

Upper Township OEM implemented a new CodeRED emergency notification system in recent years, and conducted an active shooter exercise at the Upper Township Primary School in October. New Jersey State Police, local fire companies, the Upper Township Rescue Squad, and other township departments participated in the exercise.

Morgan said OEM also undertook a program last year to protect township computers from hackers. He said the New Jersey League of Municipalities and the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund (JIF) has warned municipalities to secure their computer systems. Mayor Richard Palombo said at Township Committee’s Jan. 6 reorganization meeting that three towns in New Jersey were recently hacked.

“JIF came out last year and did an analysis of our systems and we came out with some pretty high ratings,” Morgan said. “You have to stay on top of it all the time. Some high school or college kid or someone of a higher status may be trying to get in.”

He said having proper backups can also help restore a system if a virus is allowed in.

“So it doesn’t impact your operation,” Morgan said.

Township Committee also introduced an ordinance amending its 2017 salary ordinance to include a salary for the township administrator. The township administrator position was just created last month. The maximum salary for the position is set at $75,000 for 2017.