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Allentown council votes to create administrator’s position

ALLENTOWN – Members of the Allentown Borough Council have adopted an ordinance that creates the new position of borough administrator.

Council President Rob Strovinsky, Councilman John A. Elder III, Councilman Michael Drennan, Councilwoman Martha Johnson and Councilman Dan Payson voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the ordinance during a meeting that was conducted via Zoom on Dec. 15.

Councilwoman Angela Anthony was absent from the meeting.

During the public hearing that preceded the council’s vote to adopt the ordinance, resident John Fabiano asked municipal officials why they were creating the position.

Mayor Thomas Fritts responded, saying, “We are one of the few municipalities in New Jersey that does not have an administrator. With all of the simultaneous projects we have going on, the coordination of those projects cannot operate through (the council’s) standing committees.

“If we had (hired an administrator) sooner, we would have saved money. Municipal officials will still have oversight and still have a vote on all actions (taken). The objective is to run a tighter ship; to work smarter, not harder,” Fritts said.

Fritts said the exact position borough officials want to fill is that of a clerk/administrator.

Laurie Roth is Allentown’s municipal clerk.

When the ordinance was introduced in November, the Examiner asked Allentown officials if there are any current municipal employees who could qualify to work as the administrator.

Fritts responded to the newspaper’s inquiry and said, “We cannot discuss personnel or hiring matters until there is a successful candidate under state law.”

Also during the Dec. 15 public hearing, Greg Westfall, a former mayor, asked if interviews will be conducted for the new position.

Fritts said interviews will be conducted.

Westfall followed up by asking what the financial impact of creating a clerk/administrator’s position would be on property taxes.

“We don’t know exactly what the position will pay or what it will save. It’s a little too soon to determine exactly what that will be. We are looking at the budget impact,” Fritts said.

The mayor previously said he is not certain if Allentown has ever had an administrator, but he said there has not been one since 1972 when the current municipal code was adopted.

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