The Township of Lyndhurst has a new administrator who, according to one official, should help make life somewhat less complicated for township supervisors and employees alike.
And the township has retained a Teaneck man to move things along on that path.
On Jan. 11, the Township Commission voted to create the position of human resources specialist/assistant CFO (chief financial officer) and appointed Devin Baker of Teaneck to fill it. The minimum/maximum salary range for the position was set at $50,000 to $65,000 a year.
Under the ordinance adopted by the governing body, Baker will head an office assigned to the township Revenue and Finance Department, now headed by Commissioner Louis DeMarco.
Baker will be in charge of recruitment/placement, classification, performance management, benefits, employee relations, labor relations, employment development, employee training, maintaining an employee database and posting job ads and Joint Insurance Fund compliance.
Baker will “act as the liaison between Human Resources and employees, ensuring smooth communication and prompt resolution of [employee] requests and questions.”
The rationale for the new office, DeMarco said, is “to bring more professionalism” to the department in tracking state labor laws, checking how they dovetail with labor contracts awarded township employees, getting employee evaluations on a timely basis and so forth.
Upgraded technology will play a role here also, the commissioner noted.
Ultimately, he said, employees from every township department should be able to “go into a computer portal” to retrieve updated information on items like sick days, vacation time, longevity, etc.
As prescribed by ordinance, Baker will also work with the township CFO and “will be responsible for financial dealings with the township, including all statutory requirements and preparation/oversight of all financial reporting [such as] payroll, pension reports, bank reconciliation, accounts payable/receivable, purchasing, grant and escrow accounts ….”
Although Baker has yet to complete certification as a municipal finance officer – one of the qualifications the township prescribed for the job – DeMarco said he has already begun classes at Rutgers University toward that certification.
That, plus his other credentials and his finance background, convinced him and his fellow commissioners Baker would make an acceptable candidate.
Baker, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Rutgers University, previously was field organizer for the Democratic Committee of Bergen County from May to November 2014; aide to the Bergen County Board of Freeholders from January 2015 to October 2018; and chief of staff/legislative director for Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37th) from October 2018 to January 2022.
He continues to serve as a member of the Bergen County Municipal Democratic Committee and sits on the Teaneck Municipal Environmental Commission.
Looking ahead to additional technology upgrades to ease certain local financial obligations for residents, DeMarco aims to arrange for local property owners to pay taxes and water bills online via the township website rather than having to pay in person at the Municipal Building or by mail.
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Ron Leir | For The Observer
Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc.
He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter.
He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based WHATCo. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, New York