What is going on in East Newark? 4 admins in 2 years?

Ron Leir has a story in this week’s edition of The Observer that explains how Fred Confessore, a long-time Harrison educator and administrator, has been hired to be East Newark’s new business administrator. 

This is a smart hire, because Confessore knows this area and has run a school district. In essence, he has experience running something bigger than the Borough of East Newark — so we’re confident he will get the job done and get the job done well.

What we cannot help but notice, however, is the sheer reality Confessore is the fourth administrator in East Newark since Mayor Dina Grilo took office Jan. 1, 2020. 

One of the administrators, Robert Dowd, is a retired police chief who is also a New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority commissioner. He lasted a  grand total of four months. And when he left, he kindly said he was doing so to “write a criminal justice textbook.”

A textbook! 

We’ve heard reasons for leaving a job before, but this one was alarming. It is even more alarming because Dowd’s predecessor and successor both left the position after a very short amount of time. And the same may now be said of his successor.

This merry-go-round of business admins leads us to believe there is much more than meets the eye here. East Newark is not a large municipality — so even the least-tested admins should be able to handle the day-to-day operations of a borough  you miss if you blink as a passenger in a car.

So what is it that makes this seat so volatile? We’d love to know, but since she took office just under two years ago, the mayor has not spoken once to this newspaper, has made no effort to do so and has run her municipality via social media almost two years. When she took office, we told her we’d like to interview her. That was April 2020. She replied, “maybe in September.” Needless to say, September came and went. No interview. 

So anyone out there reading this ­— what’s going on in East Newark? We can only help Fred Confessore puts an end to this revolving nonsense. We know he can do so, but will he get that chance?

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.