First Ward Councilman Thomas Cotter is resigning from the Bayonne City Council to take over as director of the Department of Public Works, a post formerly held by Gary Chmielewski, as part of a reorganization effort at city hall.
Cotter, who won re-election to the city council in May with more than 60 percent of his district’s vote, will assume the director role beginning Nov. 13. Chmielewski asked to step down due to health reasons and will now oversee resident complaints regarding garbage and property maintenance and manage playing fields and public facilities.
At the November 7 city council meeting, other appointments, made by the mayor, were approved.
Tim Boyle, current executive director of the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority (BMUA), will become the director of municipal services. The BMUA was dissolved after Suez took over Bayonne’s water utilities.
Terrence Malloy, current chief financial officer, will become business administrator. Malloy has been acting business administrator since Joe DeMarco stepped down in August after being hired for the position in 2014 following Mayor James Davis’s first election. Malloy plans to retire within two years. The city plans to begin a search for a new chief financial officer this year.
“It’s a challenge to move up to the next level, but I’ll still be serving the city with more responsibility.” — Thomas Cotter
The Bayonne City Council accepted resumes or written statements of interest from residents to represent the 1st Ward on the city council, which were due on Nov. 2. The council will appoint a replacement for Cotter later in November at a special meeting yet to be scheduled.
“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be challenging but not something over my head,” Cotter said. “I’m more than able to do this job. It’s a challenge to move up to the next level, but I’ll still be serving the city with more responsibility. I’m going to miss being a councilman. I won’t miss the title, I never got used to people calling me councilman. I always said call me Tommy.”
“It has been my pleasure to serve as a director for the city,” said Chmielewski, who was appointed as director of the Department of Public Works in 2007, in a statement. “I have been lucky to work with a dedicated group of employees who show up every day wanting to make Bayonne better. Unfortunately, due to reoccurring health problems, I am unable to fully meet the daily challenges that the director position requires.”
Mayor James Davis said in a statement, “I am sorry to see Tommy step down as a council member. He has been a great representative for the 1st Ward and an outstanding advocate for the entire city. I am glad that he has agreed to take the position as the DPW Director. I am confident that he will serve the needs of the residents and will make sure that we continue to focus on the needed upgrades to our open space.”
Cotter was first elected to the Bayonne City Council in 2014, and again in 2018, both times on Davis’s slate of candidates. The council approved Mayor James Davis’s appointment of Cotter to director on Wednesday, November 7 at an annual salary of $117,000. His predecessor, Chmielewski, was paid $125,000. The City Council voted earlier this year to raise the salaries of many municipal employees to be more competitive with surrounding municipalities.
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org