By Ron Leir
EAST NEWARK –
At age 37, he’s the newest – and, by far, the youngest – municipal police chief among his peers in Hudson County.
Anthony Monteiro was appointed acting East Newark Police Chief, effective June 1, in place of former Chief Kenneth Sheehan, who retired May 31.
As provided by a borough ordinance up for adoption June 12, Monteiro’s annual base salary will be fixed at $91,754, an increase from his prior sergeant’s pay of about $80,000 a year.
Mayor Joseph Smith said that he and the Borough Council will review the new chief’s status and pay level after he’s had six months on the job.
Asked about the sergeant vacancy created by Monteiro’s elevation in rank, Smith said: “Under our contract with the PBA (Patrolman’s Benevolent Association), we have 60 days to fill that position.”
Chief and sergeant are the only superior officers on the eight-member police force, plus one special officer.
Until his elevation to chief, Monteiro served as sergeant since Nov. 21, 2012, borough records show.
East Newark doesn’t follow state Civil Service procedure in hiring and/or promoting police. After seeking applicants for the chief’s position, Monteiro and Officer Robert Tomasko, a former borough volunteer fire chief, expressed interest.
Smith said both were interviewed by two of the three members of the borough Police Committee – Councilmen Charles Tighe and (Hans) Pete Lucas – and himself. “Ed Serafin, the chairman of that committee, was working that night so I filled in,” the mayor said.
Both men have about the same time on the force, Smith said.
In the end, Smith said, there was a consensus to go with Monteiro. “He’s got an unblemished record, he’s been a sergeant for six months, he’s a cop’s cop – he’s played everything by the book – and he’s tri-lingual: he speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English. We felt it was time to consider that factor, given the town’s changing demographics. We felt he deserves a shot.”
Born in the Down Neck section of Newark, Monteiro and his family moved to East Newark two years later. A graduate of East Newark Elementary School and Harrison High School, Monteiro enrolled at New Jersey Institute of Technology intending to study architecture.
But he had to forgo the academics for full-time employment, which he found with the East Newark Police Department.
Monteiro’s cousin, Augie Rodrigues, is a detective with the Harrison Police Department, having worked there for more than 15 years.
In 2003, Monteiro began serving as a member of the East Newark Volunteer Fire Department.
While working as a rankand- file cop in the borough, Monteiro was an active member of the PBA, having served as both treasurer and president.
Soon enough, though, Monteiro will find himself as a borough advocate, sitting on the other side of the bargaining table when he’ll be asked for input into labor contract talks. The borough’s four-year contract with the PBA runs out this December so he’ll likely be in the thick of discussions about salaries and working conditions.
On a personal note, Monteiro and his wife Gloria, a financial analyst in the private sector, have two daughters, Sophia, 5, and Sarah, 4.
While he’s not involved in any organized borough recreation programs, he makes a point to interact with kids in the borough playground next to Borough Hall/Police Headquarters.
He’ll be teaming with his former chief, who has asked to stay on as the borough’s emergency management coordinator, as the deputy coordinator.
Still getting accustomed to his new duties, Monteiro, who will celebrate his 38th birthday in August, has taken time to informally meet with the rest of the department. “I just told the guys, ‘keep up what you’re doing.’ ’’