South River council hires part-time administrator

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By VASHTI HARRIS
Staff Writer

SOUTH RIVER A little more than a month after firing its full-time borough administrator, the South River Borough Council hired a new part-time administrator.

The council appointed Jack P. Layne Jr. to the position in a 4-1 vote along party lines during a meeting on May 8. Council President Shawn Haussermann voted yes, as did fellow Democrats Ryan Jones, Julie Meira and John Alai. Republican Councilman James Gurchensky voted no. Fellow Republican John Sapata abstained from the vote.

Before voting, Sapata asked that the resolution to hire Layne be read separately.

Sapata said that he met Layne for the first time during that night’s meeting and alleged that members of the council must have had a “secret meeting” involving hiring Layne as the new borough administrator.

On March 27, the council terminated its previous full-time borough administrator, Frederick Carr, with a 4-2 vote, also along party lines.

Haussermann said the reason Carr was fired was strictly for financial reasons.

“We have been looking into the financial aspects and how much the borough spends on the administration department. We spend about a quarter of a million dollars on the administration department alone and a lot of towns spend a lot less. The question came down to, do we really need a full-time borough administrator? Financially, we are looking at every aspect to save the borough money,” Haussermann said at the time.

Carr’s annual salary was $140,455, according to Joseph Zanga, the borough’s chief financial officer.

Layne’s position is part-time with an annual salary of $60,000 a year with no benefits, according to Mayor John Krenzel.

Having held multiple positions in various municipalities, Layne said he has made a 30-year career working with local government. His work experience includes assistant to the city manager in Kalamazoo, Michigan; assistant city manager for Muskegon Heights, Michigan; executive director of Miami Valley Cable Council; assistant deputy director for the Ohio Department of Development; municipal manager for Woodlawn, Ohio; borough manager for Pottstown, Pennsylvania; township manager in Upper Pottsgrove Township, Pennsylvania; and township manager in Maple Shade.

Layne previous worked as the Township of East Brunswick’s business administrator and received an annual salary of $153,000, according to Layne.

After serving for about one year, he was terminated on Feb. 28. In spite of being fired, Layne said that he and East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen left on good terms.

“It’s not like we left on bad terms. I received a severance and benefits [and Cohen] said that if I needed a reference he would be happy to give me one,” Layne said.

Layne’s first day in South River was May 9.

To view the council meeting, visit www.southrivernj.org/SR-TV.html.

Contact Vashti Harris at [email protected].