OUR 110th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 38110 FIFTY CENTS (908) 2324407 Thursday, May 25, 2000 USPS 680020 Periodical – Postage Paid at Westfield, N. J. Published Every Thursday
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Ad Populos, Non Aditus, Pervenimus
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Memorial Day Events In Area to Pay Homage
To Our Fallen Heroes By DEBORAH MADISON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
This Memorial Day, the fallen American heroes who gave their lives for their country will be honored with a wide variety of events in Westfield, Fanwood, Scotch Plains and Mountainside.
In Westfield, on Monday, May 29, Memorial Day ceremonies will begin at the Veterans Memorial Monument at the corner of Broad Street
nel, was awarded many medals and is an active member of Westfield’s VFW Post No. 11467.
This year’s parade route will go up East Broad Street from the Monument to Fairview Cemetery. The Sons and Daughters of The American Revolution will break ranks at Mountain Avenue to conduct ceremonies at The Revolutionary War Cemetery at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield to honor patriots buried there.
The parade will briefly stop at the Municipal Building where the Veteran’s contingent will take a moment of silence at the World War II Memorial Plaque.
For those who make the last half mile of the journey to Fairview Cemetery, a memorial service at the Veteran’s section of the cemetery will conclude the parade.
An Honor Guard will fire a salute, and “Taps” will sound over the graves of the 2,450 veterans who are buried at Fairview.
All parade goers are invited back to The American Legion Hall at 1003 North Avenue for refreshments at the parade’s conclusion.
Mountainside will also conduct a separate service after the Westfield Parade at the Deerfield Elementary School, where a wreath will be placed on a plaque honoring POWMIA’s.
To participate in this special service, please contact Mr. Farley at Mountainside Borough Hall at (908) 2322400.
In case of inclement weather, there will be a ceremony at The American Legion Hall; a recorded message can be called at (908) 6549181 the day of the parade for information.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Korean War and the 37,000 Americans who died in the Korean War, the theme for this year’s FanwoodScotch Plains Memorial Day parade is “A Salute to Korean War Veterans.” Residents of Fanwood and Scotch Plains who are veterans and North Avenue circle at 9 a. m.
Opening remarks will be heard from Mayor Thomas C. Jardim, as well as Mountainside’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Chairman Robert Farley, Westfield’s VFW Commander Dr. Marty Cohen and Al Riker, Commander of Westfield’s American Legion Post No. 3.
The traditional laying of wreaths at the Monument will be accompanied by music from the Westfield High School Band and the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts.
Lawrence M. Smith was chosen as Westfield’s Grand Marshal for this year’s parade. Mr. Smith was a Marine Fighter Pilot during World War II. He retired with the rank of Colo
CONTINUED ON PAGE 11
Special Camera Aids Firefighters During Blaze at Local Home By KIM KINTER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Firefighters spent hours battling a house fire last Thursday night that was believed to have started when a live electrical wire fell near the residence and ignited a blaze at the electrical panel in the basement.
Deputy Fire Chief John Castellano said the fire at 133 Stanmore Place began about 10: 30 p. m. on May 18 during the height of a series of thunderstorms that roared through the Westfield area that night.
A high voltage wire split, he said, and fell right beside the northside stucco home. Shortly after that, a fire broke out in the basement of the residence.
Firefighters from Westfield, Scotch Plains and Cranford were on the scene for hours battling fires on all three floors of the house, the deputy chief said. In addition, he revealed that offduty firefighters from Westfield were called to help contain the blaze.
Firefighters also for the first time used Westfield’s new Thermal Imaging Camera that assists those fighting fires in seeing through heavy smoke and darkness, Deputy Chief Castellano said. The department got the camera about a week before the fire and had some training using the apparatus.
The fourmember Bakst family was home when the fire broke out, but was able to get out safely.
However, before police and firefighters arrived, Mr. Bakst went back into the house and tried to fight the fire in the basement himself, a neighbor said. Once he was back outside, police refused to let the homeowner return to the house, the neighbor added.
When firefighters arrived, they found the split high voltage line and investigated the blaze in the basement, Deputy Chief Castellano said. The Westfield Fire Department then called in members of the Scotch Plains and Cranford fire departments and the offduty firefighters from Westfield.
The deputy chief said there was dense smoke in the basement caused by the burning electrical wires and that the department’s new Thermal Imaging Camera allowed firefighters to find the origin of the fire.
“It did a tremendous job in helping us see,” he said.
He said that once the firefighters found the origin of the fire, they discovered that the blaze had followed electrical lines up through three levels of the house.
Some floors and ceilings had to be torn up to get to the fire, he said.
The house, which will be uninhab itable for some time, sustained quite
a bit of smoke damage, Deputy Chief Castellano said. Most of the damage occurred inside the home, as the
stucco structure contained the fire. The Fire Department has not put a dollar amount on the damage, he
Ingrid McKinley for The Westfield Leader APPRECIATING ART... Eleanor Eills, 4, of Westfield enjoys the homemade sleds produced by elementary school children of Westfield. The exhibition was one of many on display at the annual Westfield School District art show held for three days last week at Westfield High School.
Lawrence M. Smith Westfield’s Memorial Day Parade
Ingrid McKinley for The Westfield Leader HANDCLAPPING MARATHON... Students at Franklin Elementary School in Westfield participate in a marathon handclapping session while playing outdoors last week.
Roundtable Discussion Series Set on Local Community Topics By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
The Town of Westfield has scheduled a fourweek series of roundtable discussions focusing on topics of community concern as identified by a planning group of Westfield citizens convened by Mayor Thomas C. Jardim in January.
The program will be held on four consecutive Mondays in June beginning at 7 p. m. in the Council Chambers of the Westfield Municipal Building. The public is invited to attend.
There will be opportunities to comment on the discussions, which will be broadcast live on TV36.
A discussion on “The Erosion of Civility and Community Participation” will launch the series on June 5, followed by “Responding as a Community to Citizens in Need” on June 12.
On June 19, the topic will be “Raising Children of Tolerance, Values and Purpose.” Concluding the series will be “The Need for Spiritual Ful fillment” on June 26.
Mayor Jardim has envisioned a fifth roundtable to summarize the discussions and recommended solutions.
Westfield will offer the program in conjunction with Kean University’s Gateway Institute for Regional Development.
To help fund the $6,000 program, the town appealed to the Westfield Foundation and was awarded a grant of $5,000.
“There is no doubt that Westfield is a good place to live and raise children,” stated Mr. Jardim. “But, just like many other towns, we have concerns that are very symptomatic of the fast pace of life in the 21st century.
“Some people, some children, may actually be falling through the cracks in our way of life here,” he continued. “What makes Westfield different is that we are proactively trying to agree on some solutions to make this very good place even better.”
According to Gateway’s Associ ate Director Tonya Poteat, each
roundtable will feature a different group of individuals from Westfield, including representatives from volunteer organizations, municipal officials and professional people.
The programs will be facilitated by Dr. Lois C. Richardson of the Gateway Institute.
Following the panel discussions, the public will be invited to pose questions to panel members, Dr. Richardson and/ or the mayor.
Ms. Poteat explained that, if the township decides to take the program further, it could cost an additional $4,000 for followup activities and public relations efforts, such as mailings to residents.
Gateway has worked on development programs for Fanwood, Roselle, Elizabeth and Hillside, although “each town wants something different,” said Ms. Poteat, who is coordinating the Westfield project.
Citizens should direct their questions about the roundtable series to the Mayor’s Office at (908) 7894041.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 11
Council Delays Deck Design While Considering Report By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
The Town Council opted not to appropriate funds to its parking consultant for design work on a parking deck, reasoning that the governing body hasn’t determined if it is even going to build such a facility, let alone determine its location and size.
The council instead agreed Tuesday night to continue the contract with Rich and Associates, Inc., which has developed a report that recommends a parking deck and/ or decks for the downtown.
The Michiganbased firm will continue to provide support services at a per diem rate, not to exceed $20,000, as the Town Council conducts public meetings and considers its next course of action regarding the recommendations included in Rich and Associates’ “Comprehensive Parking Plan” which was submitted to the council earlier this year.
Town Administrator Thomas B. Shannon explained that, at the council’s direction, Rich and Associates will not move into predesign work for a parking facility until the governing body determines if it wants a deck, and, if affirmative, decides the facility’s size and location.
A resolution presented to the council Tuesday night had proposed a
figure of $55,000 for Rich to proceed with the predesign of a deck.
However, there was not full agreement on having Rich and Associates complete the early design phase of plans for a deck.
The report recommended decks ranging from $10 to $16 million in construction costs, with between 743 and 1,327 parking spaces. The South Avenue train station municipal lot, known as 3A, was rated as the prime location for a deck, followed by Lot 1 on Prospect Street.
Second Ward Councilman James J. Gruba said he felt the council needed to determine how it wants to proceed on the parking report before spending money on predesign work.
The council agreed to cut the figure from $55,000 to $20,000 to cover money the firm is owed, in addition to supplemental services Rich may be asked to complete.
“We don’t know where we are going, so there is no point to spending another $35,000,” Mr. Gruba told
The Westfield Leader.
He explained the $20,000 will enable Rich to continue to clarify its report and answer questions posed by the council.
Both Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan and Mayor Thomas C. Jardim indicated they were prepared
to support the predesign work expenditure in the contract. Mr. Shannon explained that the $55,000 figure was “reasonable” for the consultant to complete the actual design phase for a deck, including traffic studies and soil samples once a site for the deck is determined.
In other business, the council went on record in supporting the $1.5 million New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to alleviate traffic congestion and to boost pedestrian safety at the Route 28 traffic circle.
The plan is an alternative to the Tintersection project previously endorsed by the Town Council in 1996. That plan called for a fully signalized intersection.
The new project will retain the circle with modifications to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians.
The council, in its resolution, has requested that the DOT reduce the width of the right turn lane from North Avenue along the World War I monument, while retaining existing parking spaces in the area.
Also, the town wants the curb at the northeastern corner of the North Avenue and East Broad Street intersection reduced to provide for shorter crosswalks to enhance pedestrian
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of the Korean War will be the guests of honor at the parade.
Starting at 8 a. m., a memorial service will be held at American Legion Post No. 209 at Park Avenue and Sunset Place sponsored by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. At 9 a. m., a memorial service will be held at the Fanwood Library on North Avenue and Tillotson Road with wreath laying and an address by Fanwood Mayor Louis C. Jung.
At 10 a. m., several organizations will lay wreaths at the Veteran’s Monument on the corner of Park Avenue and Front Street. Scotch Plains Grand Marshal, Joseph Duff, a Korean War Veteran who served over 30 years between active and reserve duty, will address the marchers along with Scotch Plains Mayor Martin L. Marks.
Starting at 10: 45 a. m. from the Municipal Building in Scotch Plains, the parade will proceed along Park Avenue, down Martine Avenue into the center of Fanwood and end at La Grande Park in Fanwood.
More than 45 local groups will participate in this year’s parade.
A wide variety of fun activities for the entire family are planned for this year’s Memorial Day in the Park event in La Grande Park in Fanwood. Entertainment, barbecued food, rides and games will be hosted by the borough from 11 a. m. to 2 p. m. A hotdog eating contest and a dunk tank featuring borough officials in the hot seat are sure to make this the most fulfilling way to spend the day.
A special Memorial Day dedication and concert will be held at Echo Lake Park on Sunday, May 28, at 6: 30 p. m. sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, honoring Pearl Harbor Veterans. The Freeholders will dedicate a permanent memorial in Echo Lake Park to the memory of those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, North Jersey Chapter No. 2 will be on hand for the dedication along with a color guard contingent of the Central Jersey Leathernecks from Westfield.
In conjunction with the installation of the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Park Drive in the park will be designated “Pearl Harbor Memorial Drive”
from Saturday, May 27, through Saturday, June 3. After the dedication, The Westfield Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert of American patriotic music beginning at 7 p. m. in the park. In case of rain, the concert will take place at Cranford High School. For information, please call the Westfield Symphony Orchestra at (908) 2329400.
The question concerning proper display of the American flag on Memorial Day comes up each year. According to information from the American Legion’s Web site at www. legion. org/ flagcode. htm, the flag should be displayed at halfstaff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
Memorial Day Events Planned in Local Area
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
said. Red Cross representatives were on the scene to offer housing to the family, but they chose to stay with neighbors.
The Thermal Imaging Camera was obtained for free from the state Department of Community Affairs, which is making the apparatus available to 700 municipalities, Deputy Chief Castellano said.
Westfield was one of the first 100 municipalities to apply for the equipment, and picked it up about a week ago. Formal training is scheduled to occur in the next few weeks.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader HEADON ACCIDENT... Shortly after noon on May 18, the driver of a compact car traveling west on South Avenue near Crossway Place lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line and plowed headon into a parked Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) on the opposite side of the street. Paramedic and local rescue units responded and the motorist, who was injured, was extracted from his car by members of the Westfield Fire Department. He was transported to the hospital by the Westfield Rescue Squad.
SP Environmental Group Raises Ashbrook Concerns
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
SCOTCH PLAINS -The Scotch Plains Township Environmental Commission seems somewhat skeptical about the proposal to convert two dozen acres of land in the Ashbrook Reservation into a park and ballfields.
After listening last week to a proposal from the consulting engineer planning the project as well as hearing objections from several environmental groups, commission chairperson Marcia Anderson, while admitting the need for more open space, said: “we’re looking at a lot of sites for possible parks.”
She said the commission is “concerned about certain aspects of the (Ashbrook) site,” both from an environmental standpoint as well as for the local ecosystem.
The commission’s emergency meeting May 18, which was attended by Mayor Martin Marks and Councilman Tarquin Jay Bromley as well as Councilwoman Geri M. Samuel, the council’s liaison to the panel, was held in response to a Letter of Interpretation application sent to the New Jersey Department of Environmental protection by Killam Associates, the consulting engineering firm secured by the township to conduct preliminary studies on the site.
Robert Lynes of Killam displayed preliminary sketches for the park that include a baseball field facing north towards Martine Avenue, a Little League/ softball field behind the larger field, and two soccer fields at the southern end of the property.
In addition, the drawings included provisions for some 100 parking spaces as well as a small field house with a dimension of about 40 feet by 50 feet. There would be access roads to the parking lot from both Raritan Road and Martine Avenue.
A series of walking trails around the area’s perimeter would also be included.
Mr. Lynes said the presence of designated wetlands areas in the Ashbrook Reservation would necessitate the inclusion of a wetlands buffer boundary to serve as a sort of transition area between the actual park and the undeveloped area of the reservation, which is designated as a park within the Union County Park Department.
Typically, these types of buffers are 50 feet wide, although the state could order it expanded to as much as 150 feet wide.
Such a widening, he said, “might be the fatal flaw” in the proposed development because “it would compress the usable space available.”
In recent months, a number of environmental groups have registered their opposition to the park, with the main
concerns being the effect of such a development on the wildlife and plant life inside the reservation and the potential for an increased flood risk for neighboring towns.
The Robinsons Branch of the Rahway River runs through the reservation and then winds it way southeast through Clark and Rahway. Some persons have claimed that developing the reservation and flattening the topography of the land would result in much greater flood hazards for both the south side of Scotch Plains and the towns downstream.
William Fidurski, chairman of the Clark Environmental Commission, told his Scotch Plains counterparts that “even in short storms, we see a sizable change at the Scotch PlainsClark line where the Robinsons Branch rises rapidly.”
He said that “any additional water put into the main channel will have an adverse effect as far as flooding is concerned.”
Ms. Anderson, pointing out that the water table in the reservation is lower than normal due to the lack of significant rainfall during the past few summers, asked Mr. Lynes whether the proposed soccer fields, which would be situated at the lowest level of the proposed park, would turn into “swampy fields” when the water table rises.
He responded by saying this was “an engineering problem that has a solution,” although he didn’t provide details.
The two ballfields at the northern end of the property would be on land that sits, on average, 7080 feet above sea level, while the soccer fields would be 1015 feet lower.
Ms. Anderson also noted that the area’s mosquito population, and its effects on children, would also have to be addressed.
She also asked Mr. Lynes about where water runoff from heavy rainfalls would be directed by the engineers. He said no detention basin was in the works; instead, he said the plan was to let excess rain water, including from the parking lot, run over the park’s grounds and into the wetlands area.
Ms. Anderson noted, though, that runoff water from the parking area would also carry with it chemicals such as motor oil and other fluids that inevitably drip from cars.
Speaking from another angle, Richard Bousquet, president of the Scotch Plains Historical Society, noted that the area in and around the Ashbrook Reservation was the scene of the Revolutionary War Battle of Short Hills and said that a number of artifacts from that skirmish were still in the area.
In addition, he said Indian tools had been found as well as humanutilized artifacts dating back 9,000 years. Back in the mid1960s, teeth from the dinosaurera mastodon were discovered in the reservation.
Echoing sentiments expressed to the Township Council earlier this year, Dennis Miranda, urban parks project manager with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, told the Environmental Commission that the reservation was intended as a passive county park for all Union County residents, not just Scotch Plains residents.
He added that the value of the reservation as a flood control area “would be compromised” if the development proceeded. “Scotch Plains should look elsewhere,” he said.
Claiming that the township was “overreaching” in taking out county parkland for its own residents, Mr. Miranda provided a list of what he said were 18 properties in Scotch Plains, totaling 130 acres, that could be converted into usable parkland.
Dean Talcott, who works in the Union County Engineer’s office and is chairman of the Fanwood Borough Environmental Commission, noted that the county proposed raised boardwalkstyle walking path nearby the planned park could be jeopardized, due to the noise that would emanate from the ballfields and soccer fields and, in effect, ruin the intended effect of such a nature trail.
Mr. Miranda’s accusation of overreaching by the township government prompted a spirited defense at the close of the meeting by Mayor Marks, who said the Council was not being negligent or derelict in trying to find any additional open space for recreational use.
He said the local government is relying on experts, activists and the state government as it decides whether or not the project is feasible.
Ingrid McKinley for The Westfield Leader IN THEIR SUNDAY BEST... Outside of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Westfield, these women congregate in their Sunday best to discuss current events and exchange pleasantries.
TUESDAY, MAY 16
· Security personnel at a North Avenue department store alerted police about a female suspect who they believe is responsible for 10 shoplifting incidents there between April 20 and May 11. No charges had been filed as of press time.
· Kimberlee Harris, 32, of Westfield was arrested and charged with theft by failure to make required disposition of property received, for allegedly failing to return a rented vehicle to a Central Avenue company last November. She was released on her own recognizance. Authorities said the car was eventually returned to the company.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17
· The owner of an East Broad Street business reported that bad checks were issued at his establishment.
THURSDAY, MAY 18
· A Fourth Avenue resident reported that the front license plate on her vehicle was stolen or lost sometime between May 16 and May 17.
· A Gallows Hill Road resident reported the theft of a Pentex brand camera from her stroller in Mindowaskin Park.
· A Kimball Avenue resident reported that $500 was stolen from his residence.
FRIDAY, MAY 19
· A lacrosse stick valued at $180 was reported stolen from a store on South Avenue. A white, male juvenile, between 13 and 15 years old, with short black hair, 5 feet and 11 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, is suspected in the
Time for a scoop: www. goleader. com
safety. The governing body wants to maintain the existing curb line along the eastern side of the northbound approach to the North Avenue and East Broad Street intersection to preserve green space and reduce traffic flow to the central business district.
Also, the town wants the DOT to move the proposed Watterson StreetSouth Avenue intersection in the plans further west.
Councilman Sullivan asked that the state begin work as soon as possible on improvements to the South Avenue, East, approach to the circle. He called the current approach “a dangerous situation.”
The DOT has set the projected completion date of 2005, with work to begin in 2004.
The council also rejected an ordinance to vacate the town’s rightofway on Breeze Knoll Drive by a 52 tally. Property owner Dr. David Lictenstein wanted to move his current driveway in conjunction with improvements he is making to his property.
The vacation of the parcel was opposed by neighboring property owner Dr. Albert Thrower, who felt the move would reduce his property value by
making it seem as though Dr. Lichtenstein’s new driveway was on his (Dr. Thrower’s) property. Both property owners were represented by legal counsel.
The parcel in question extends from the end of the culdesac to the Mountainside boundary where Dr. Thrower’s property is located. Dr. Lichtenstein had proposed to relocate his driveway along the vacated land, had the council approved his request.
Town Attorney William S. Jeremiah, 2nd had advised the council that the vacation would have benefited the public by adding a parcel to the town’s tax rolls, reducing possible liability to the town and eliminating maintenance responsibilities for Public Works.
On another matter, the council was notified of a vacancy on the Downtown Westfield Corporation’s Board of Directors. The downtown property owner’s seat expires on December 31, 2001. Interested property owners within the special improvement district should call Mr. Shannon at (908) 7894040.
There is also an opening on the Board of Health. The board’s president, W. Jubb Corbet, Jr., said he is looking for someone with a financial background.
Council Delays Funding For Deck Design Consultant
WESTFIELD POLICE BLOTTER
· A Roselle Park resident reported that an acquaintance pointed a handgun at him at an apartment complex on Central Avenue. No weapon was found and no one had been charged in connection with the incident at press time.
SATURDAY, MAY 20
· An unknown individual unlawfully used the name and bank account number of a Cumberland Street resident to cash five checks totaling $1,994. No charges had been filed at press time.
· Two patrons at a local restaurant, one a resident of Edison and the other from Merrick, N. Y., reported the theft of keys to their cars.
SUNDAY, MAY 21
· A Quantuck Lane resident reported that someone poured white paint on the hood of his vehicle while it was parked in front of his house. The victim used water from a hose to remove the paint, police said.
MONDAY, MAY 22
· An Elm Street resident reported that someone uprooted a small tree.
· Rasheedah Hassan, 23, of Plainfield was arrested on South Avenue and charged with driving with a revoked license and with hindering apprehension, for allegedly providing false information to a law enforcement officer. She was released after posting $200 cash bail.
TUESDAY, MAY 23
· A Westfield resident reported the theft of her automatic teller machine card and its unauthorized use by an unidentified individual.
James Gildea Named Assistant Administrator
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
WESTFIELD — Westfield Town Administrator Thomas P. Shannon did not have to look very far to fill a vacancy for an assistant administrator.
James Gildea, currently Assistant Recreation Director and Manager of the town’s pool, will take on his new duties as of Monday, June 12.
The position has been vacant since last year, when Bernard A. Heeney, the former Assistant Administrator, was named Town Clerk. Mr. Gildea will be reunited in adm i n i s t r a t i o n with Claire Gray, who also had worked in recreation as an office clerk for three years prior to taking a job for the City of Summit.
“I’m truly excited about it (the position),” said Mr. Gildea.
Mr. Shannon said Mr. Gildea will “truly assist me in the daytoday operations and evaluate special projects for the town.”
Among his new duties will be preparation and implementation of the municipal budget and development of a longterm debt management plan for the town’s capital budget.
Mr. Shannon said many ideas are talked about by the council but, in the end, only the “havetodo” projects usually get funded in the budget.
The new assistant administrator will be asked to develop a fleet management plan for Westfield’s 100 municipalowned vehicles, including maintenance records. The plan will help officials determine whether to keep a specific vehicle and whether the fleet can be reduced.
Mr. Shannon said he posted the assistant administrator vacancy for municipal staff, at which point he received two applications.
“To my delight, I had two very good applicants. So I didn’t advertise it (the position),” he explained.
Mr. Gildea has been in his cur rent post for seven years. He had
accepted a private sector job as operations manager for commercial accounts with Shaw Industries, a Dalton, Ga.based carpet and flooring manufacturer, in the company’s Union office.
Mr. Gildea, who left the town payroll in December to take the new job, returned the following month after discovering the company was reorganizing and
he might have been transferred out of state.
He told The We s t fi e l d Leader that he had applied to Kean University to gain his master’s degree in public administration with the thought of seeking an assistant administrator or administrator’s post in the future. That occurred prior to the job opening in Westfield.
Mr. Gildea said he was encouraged to apply for the position by Mr. Shannon. “It’s kind of funny how things seem to fall into place,” said Mr. Gildea, a lifelong Westfielder.
As Assistant Director of the Recreation Department, Mr. Gildea is responsible for the administration of the town’s Memorial Pool complex, but also handles a number of other daytoday activities.
He additionally has specific responsibility for the annual Halloween haunted house at the pool complex and the springtime fivemile foot race held in Tamaques Park.
In addition to his role as Assistant Director, Mr. Gildea also served in various capacities from 1988 to 1993 at the Memorial Pool, including stints as a lifeguard.
Mr. Gildea developed the process used this year to handle pool memberships after the facility reached capacity last summer. Pool members, previous members, residents and nonresidents were given three time frames to obtain pool memberships. All registration was done in person.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)