Article has been updated to include new information.
During its Reorganization meeting on January 4, Bellmawr Council voted 3-2 in favor of appointing former councilman, Josh Tregear, as the new Borough Administrator.
Prior to council voting on the appointment, Borough Clerk, Chuck Sauter, read a letter from Tregear resigning from his councilman position effective December 31, 2015.
Tregear’s letter read in part: “The time has come for me to pursue other opportunities and to spend more time with my family.”
Voting yes in favor of the position were Councilmen Paul Sandrock, David Spector, and Steve Hagerty. Voting no were Councilmen Jim D’Angelo and Steve Sauter.
No one from the public spoke during the public portion and none of the Councilmen made comments about their votes.
However, Mayor Frank Filipek said: “This job has been needed for ten years. I’ve been pushing for it for ten years and we finally can afford it because we have people retiring so it’s not going to cost the taxpayers one cent. We’re not raising taxes because we’re hiring and opening another job.”
At the October 22, 2015 council meeting, the ordinance creating the Borough Administrator position was first read and introduced. At the November 23, 2015 council meeting, the ordinance was read a second time. There was a public hearing, and it was adopted on that date.
Bellmawr Borough advertised the position in the Legal Notices section of the November 25 edition of the Courier Post titled: “Job Opportunity, Position of Administrator, for the Borough of Bellmawr.”
Resumes were due by December 1 to Councilman Steven Hagerty, who is the Borough’s director of personnel.
Regarding the background for the position, four candidates interviewed for it, office secretary Victoria Sandrock confirmed via email in December: “Three interviewed on December 9. One interviewed on December 14.”
As for who did the interviewing, Sandrock wrote: “Kenneth Cheeseman, Administrator, Borough of Laurel Springs, John Greer, Administrator, Borough of Pine Hill, and Steven Hagerty, Councilman-Director of Personnel.”
As for the actual hiring of a candidate, Sandrock wrote that the names of possible candidates were discussed, “and no formal action will be taken until the Reorganization meeting on January 4, 2016.”
Additionally, a separate Resolution for the appointment will be on the agenda for the Reorganization meeting and Council will vote at that time, Sandrock wrote.
Tregear had spoken to Borough Solicitor Robert Messick concerning the proper legal steps he would have to take if Council selects him as the new Borough Administrator.
New material includes excerpts of the legal bills from Robert Messick, the Borough Solicitor, in response to reporter’s OPRA Request. Portions from Messick’s September-December 2015 bills as they relate to the creation of the Borough Administrator position are as follows:
September 10: Discuss proposed creation of Administrator’s position with Mayor as to other necessary changes it will produce.
October 6: Telephone call with Mayor regarding the Borough Administrator’s position and if J. Tregear is interested.
October 20: Telephone call with J. Tregear regarding mechanics of resigning as Council member; telephone call with Mayor regarding same.
October 21: Telephone call with J. Tregear regarding timing of resignation; telephone call with Clerk regarding his plan to have first reading on ordinance to create Borough Administrator position.
October 22: Telephone call with Clerk regarding J. Tregear resignation and timing on replacement and special election.
November 3: Discussion with J. Tregear regarding Borough Administrator duties.
November 18: Telephone call with J. Tregear regarding Borough Administrator position and steps he wants to take.
November 19: Two telephone calls with J. Tregear regarding Borough Administrator Ordinance and what his responsibilities and powers will be; brief meeting with Clerk regarding same issues; telephone call with S. Sauter regarding Borough Administrator and his opposition to same.