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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Stone Harbor Defines Administrator’s Role

Stone Harbor Logo
Stone Harbor Logo

By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – At a special meeting Feb. 9, Stone Harbor Council fired then-Borough Administrator Robert Smith. The council appointed Public Works Director Manny Parada as interim administrator March 7. 
The council introduced an ordinance March 21, amending the borough’s code in order to better define the role of the administrator.
These actions were all a result of a majority of council members having lost confidence in Smith. They also signal an attempt by the council to better define the role of the administrator in a way that does not conflict with council’s perception of its own administrative role, along with that of the borough’s mayor.
The existing municipal code, which this newly introduced ordinance would amend, states that the administrator is “a liaison between the Borough Council and the departments, boards and officials of the borough.”  
In October 2022, the council took action to reorganize the Water and Sewer Department as a component of Public Works. At that time, the Public Works Department became a direct report of the administrator. 
The new ordinance just introduced states that the administrator is to “coordinate” the administration of all departments. The specific powers of a coordinator of departments, as opposed to a liaison, are not defined in the new ordinance. 
With the current Public Works director as the interim administrator, the issue of the direct report of that department head is moot for the moment.
What is clear is that newly articulated responsibilities have been added to the administrator’s job description. He or she is to oversee coordination of the Community Rating System (CRS) Program, to direct the affordable housing program, to ensure compliance with all federal, state and county regulations, and to make timely application of all required permits. Each of these responsibilities speaks to an area of controversy in the previous year.
The public hearing on this ordinance will be April 18.

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