21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by lunasavestheday
Patch Instagram photo by lunasavestheday
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Little Falls Administrator Tapped to Replace Pezarras in Brick

Joanne Bergin served for two years as Little Falls administrator, previously worked for engineering companies as grant writer

Little Falls Administrator Tapped to Replace Pezarras in Brick
The Busines Administrator of Little Falls Township has been tapped by Mayor John Ducey to replace longtime Brick Township Business Administrator Scott Pezarras, who will continue on as the township's Chief Financial Officer.

The township council is set to vote on a resolution approving Ducey's choice Tuesday night. The position, which will pay $140,000, would begin March 17.

Bergin's experience as administrator of the Passaic County community of 14,000 residents dates back two years, to March 2012 when she was appointed by Mayor Darlene Post, a Republican. Previously, Bergin held positions as a grant writer with Birdsall Engineering, T&M Associates and CMX, and in public relations with Ocean Health Initiatives and the New Jersey Network television station, according to a LinkedIn profile.

According to Ocean County election board records obtained by Patch under an Open Public Records Act request, Bergin is a registered Republican. Ducey, as well as all seven members of the township council, are Democrats.

On Monday, Ducey said he wanted to separate the policy-oriented job of running the administration of the township from the job of running the finance department.

"We really want Scott to focus on the numbers," said Ducey. "We're in pretty bad financial shape because of Sandy."

Ducey said Brick, the 11th largest municipality in the state, is the only town out of the top 30 largest that has one person serving both roles, as Pezarras current does.

"He's definitely staying," said Ducey, of Pezarras. "He'll have an increased role of overseeing all of the financial aspects of the township."

Bergin, a Toms River resident, told Passaic Valley Today that her commutes to Little Falls often took more than an hour, and that her new position closer to home is an "outstanding opportunity."

"It is a great opportunity, is closer to home, and it's just too good for me to pass up," she told the newspaper.

Bergin won praise in Little Falls, according to the article, for her work on creating a transit village in the town, getting the township's voters to approve an open space tax which resulted in additional grant money being made available, and - perhaps most relevant to her potential new role in Brick - her work to mitigate the township's flood woes ending up in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Mitigation Best Practices Portfolio.

Little Falls is now publicly searching for a new administrator and has posted a job opening for the position. Bergin's last day on the job there is March 14.

Ducey said the job opportunity was never officially advertised, though 10 candidates were interviewed after news of the opening was spread by word of mouth.

"Joanne has a diverse background that includes communications, grant procurement, management and more," said Mayor Ducey. "These experiences and the knowledge she has gained are all going to be assets for this administration and the township."

In her previous position with Little Falls, Bergin earned a salary of $86,900 per year, though she drew an additional salary by holding a second position as the township's grant writer, a job she had before becoming administrator.

Pezarras earns $179,252 as Brick's administrator, though he holds part-time positions in other communities that result in an annual income of $236,069. Pezarras' salary under the new arrangement is not currently known.

Pezarras has served as Brick's administrator since 2006, surviving under both Democratic and Republican mayors. He held the role of CFO since 1994, then added the dual role as administrator and CFO. He has been a township employee since 1984.

The council meeting where Bergin's appointment is up for a vote is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the township municipal complex.

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