Should Fair Lawn Re-Examine the Borough Manager's Role? [Poll]
Are you concerned with the turnover at the top in Fair Lawn? How would you fix it?
With the resignation of borough manager Tom Metzler Monday, Fair Lawn is once again in the market for a chief executive officer.
Council members on both sides of the aisle acknowledge that changing managers so often -- five times in the past seven years -- is a problem that needs to be addressed. The job, as Metzler noted in his resignation letter, has been historically vulnerable to changing political tides.
His own recent situation is a case in point. While Metzler has received nothing but positive reviews from both Republican and Democratic council members since announcing his resignation, he was nonetheless not given a guarantee that he'd be retained next year.
"It’s just the position. There's not really much job security with it," said Councilman Kurt Peluso, when asked to comment on Metzler's resignation. "They’re appointed by the council and they serve at the pleasure of the council."
Or as resident Craig Miller put it bluntly at Tuesday's council meeting: it's politics.
"The politics this town plays," said Miller, the rare resident who attends most council meetings and work sessions. "You should be ashamed of yourselves.
"I hear everyone is looking out for Fair Lawn — from both sides," he continued. "I don’t see it. I don’t see anybody looking out for Fair Lawn at all."
Mayor John Cosgrove's solution to the borough's manager problem is to offer appointees longer contracts.
"Whoever we hire [next], we should all agree to come together and give them a longer term contract because as a manager you can’t get your program started if you're only going to be here [a year or two]," he said Tuesday.
Peluso said he didn't believe longer contracts would resolve the issue unless they could be guaranteed -- an option he found too risky.
"You don't want to be stuck with a borough manager who isn't as great as we hoped he would be," he said.
Instead Peluso suggested shaking up the borough's form of government by having a directly elected strong mayor and diminishing the role of the borough manager.
"The manager is such an important position in our form of government, not everyone fully comprehends the role that they have," he said. "I think there's some things we may have to review as a council going forward."
What would you like to see happen to the manager's role in Fair Lawn? Vote in the poll or tell us in the comments.