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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Stone Harbor Appoints New Tax Collector and Deputy CFO

Stone Harbor Appoints New Tax Collector and Deputy CFO

By Vince Conti

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STONE HARBOR – The Borough Council has appointed Robert Williams as the new tax collector and deputy chief financial officer, filling a position being vacated by tax collector Deborah Candelore, who will retire at the end of the month after serving the borough for 26 years.

The added title of deputy CFO given to Williams is new and has not been used previously in the borough. According to Councilwoman Jennifer Gensemer, a resignation in the finance office is allowing the new combined roles at a savings to taxpayers.

A Herald request for the amount of the savings did not elicit specific salary data.

Gensemer, who introduced the resolution of appointment at the council’s June 4 meeting, said Williams is currently serving as the deputy CFO for Hamilton Township.

He holds a B.S. in finance from Coastal Carolina University (2004), she said, and a certified tax collector certificate and a certified municipal finance officer certificate, both from the state Department of Community Affairs.

There had been no advance word to the public concerning Candelore’s imminent retirement, so it caught at least one resident by surprise that a new appointment was being made. Angelo Caracciolo, chairman of the borough’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, had questions about the process, which was not public.

One concerned the fact that the tax collector has to be nominated by the mayor and then decided on by the council. There are provisions for what to do when the mayor and council do not agree after 30 days, but in this case those did not apply.

Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour said that the governing body would go into closed session at the Tuesday meeting, and the resolution would be acted upon when the council returned to open session. It was then that the mayor made the necessary nomination so that Williams could be considered by the council. Davies-Dunhour was in effect nominating the candidate the council had already selected.

When Caracciolo asked about the number of applicants, no one spoke until Solicitor Anthony Bocchi said there were multiple applicants. Bocchi added that Williams was the only one with the necessary state certifications.

That concerned Caracciolo, who felt the council should readvertise and start a new process. But the council’s vote to appoint had been unanimous.

What was not pointed out to the public at the meeting was that Williams is the deputy CFO at the same municipality that new Stone Harbor CFO Cynthia Lindsay came from one month ago. In effect Lindsay will have the same deputy she had in Atlantic County.

The municipal tax collector is a statutory officer of the state. They hold office for a term of four years from the first day of January following appointment. Williams will begin his four-year term Jan. 1, 2025; until then he is completing Candelore’s unexpired term. His appointment was effective June 4, but he starts on June 24.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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