BOE reshapes security, business office



A former Harrison police official will be entering a new round of public service.

Michael Green, a captain – and onetime deputy chief – in the Harrison Police Department who retired Dec. 1, 2015, has been hired by the Harrison Board of Education as “coordinator of school safety/school resource officer.”

The BOE voted to give Green a one-year contract, serving through June 30, 2017, and his initial pay will be $60,000 a year, according to James Doran, the BOE’s director of personnel.

Green, 48, who served nearly 27 years with the HPD, including five years as deputy chief – until 2010 when the state compelled the town to discontinue that rank – retired with an annual pension of $97,482.

Doran said the BOE posted the job – a new position – in June and got “a few” applicants but figured that Green was the best candidate, given his many years of police experience.

Because of his extensive police background, Green “will have a policy role” with the school district, Doran said. “He will evaluate our school security plans.”

With so much sensitivity nationwide around schools’ potential vulnerability to assaults from outside, Doran said that Green’s security expertise will be particularly useful for the protection of Harrison school children and staff.

Green’s job description sets out his duties this way: “The Coordinator of School Safety/School Resource Officer coordinates school discipline, person and building safety and security, and law enforcement throughout the district. Establishes appropriate regulations, procedures and plans to ensure safe and secure school facilities. Conducts internal investigations and refers incidents to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.”

Among his responsibilities will be to “assist the Superintendent/Director of Personnel in … building security [and] surveillance systems, visitor registration and identification procedures, emergency plans for evacuations, lockdowns and other crises; security staff orientation and training [and] deployment of security personnel …. [and] in the coordination of district collaborative efforts with municipal agencies for accident investigations, crossing guard deployment, law enforcement, traffic management and protection of property [and to] recommend policies, procedures and contract language to improve discipline, safety and security.”

For the present, Doran said, the specifications for the new position call for a “Class 1”-type officer, meaning someone who will be unarmed on the job. Down the road, however, “we may take a look at a weapon,” he added.

Green will take the place of HPD Officer Charles Schimpf, who had been serving as a school resource officer but who will now return to regular police duties. He is paid fully by the town.

At the same time, the BOE renewed a shared services agreement with the town, for Officer Henry Villanueva to be assigned to the district, on an as-needed basis, through June 30, 2017. His salary is shared by BOE and the town.

In other personnel moves, the BOE reconfigured its business office in the wake of the recent retirement of business administrator/board secretary Christine Griffin.

It promoted Daniel J. Choffo, BOE business manager for the past nine years, to fill Griffin’s post at $162,000 a year under a one-year contract. He’ll also serve as custodian of records (OPRA). Choffo, a Harrison resident, owns Harrison Realty. He’ll be doing a one-year state mentorship to attain full certification in the job, Doran said.

“With Chris leaving after 15 years, Danny’s got difficult shoes to fill,” Doran said, “but he’s been reconciling our accounts, he knows the needs of the schools, he has sat on the committee to build our new [primary] school, he’s familiar with all of our school plant changes, including our new culinary program.

“We needed someone to hit the ground running and we feel Danny’s our man to do that.”

Also, Jennifer French, who has served the past two-plus years as early childhood fiscal specialist, was delegated new duties as grant coordinator/bookkeeper/fiscal specialist at $69,000 a year, also under a one-year contract.

And the BOE brought in newcomer Yahaira Torres, who had been an administrative assistant at Rutgers University, as early childhood fiscal specialist at $45,000 under a one-year contract.

The BOE also voted to renew a one-year contract for Assistant Superintendent Frederick G. Confessore, as approved by the Executive County Superintendent’s Office, at the same salary of $203,000 a year. Confessore had previously announced his intention to retire, after having spent 42 years with the district, but Doran said Confessore has yet to put in his pension application.

The BOE also renewed the appointment of Dr. Ponciano P. Palmiery as school physician for one year at $60,000; hired William Mitchell as assistant high school football coach; agreed to pay LRC Development Corp. of North Bergen $19,000 for roof repairs at Washington Middle School resulting from snowstorm damages; authorized a payment of $78,408 to Achieve3000 of Lakewood for an online reading enhancement software program; and agreed to hire applicants for the 2016 Summer Enrichment Program running July 11 to Aug. 4.


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