A former state Senator who once served as New Jersey’s acting governor has been hired as Lavallette’s new borough administrator.
John O. Bennett III, who is also the former Monmouth County Republican chairman, was appointed to the position earlier this week following a closed-session meeting of the borough council. He will replace Christopher Parlow, who retired April 30.
Bennett, 67, will be paid an annual salary of $80,000 for the part-time position, in which he will work 25 hours per week, said Mayor Walter LaCicero. Parlow, who was a full time administrator for the borough, had earned $127,176 in the position.
LaCicero said officials decided to make the administrator post a part time position since some of the responsibilities Parlow held have since be reassigned to others.
“The old administrator was also the municipal clerk, and we’ve named a new municipal clerk, so we’ve taken that part off the table,” he said.
Earlier this year, Donnelly Amico was appointed acting municipal clerk.
Additionally, LaCicero said, Parlow also served as the borough’s FEMA Community Rating System coordinator – a program that helps lower residents’ flood insurance rates – which has also been reassigned.
The part time nature of the position is something the borough is trying out, the mayor explained.
“It’s easier to go from part-time to full-time than full-time to part-time, so it gives us some flexibility,” he said.
Bennett, an attorney, most recently served as administrator of Oceanport in Monmouth County. There, his employment became a prominent issue in last November’s mayoral election. Bennett had announced his retirement in Oct. 2015 from Oceanport but later said he wanted to continue. Ultimately, a newly-elected Democratic mayor, Jay Coffey, chose to hire a new administrator.
Bennett served in the New Jersey Senate until 2003, when he was defeated by former Sen. Ellen Karcher. As a member of the legislature’s leadership, he served as acting governor for 84 hours in 2002 following the resignation of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.