OCEANPORT:Borough Administrator/Department of Public Works Superintendent John Bennett now has a contract.
However, that contract is only good through the end of 2015, as Bennett announced during the Oct. 1 Oceanport Council meeting that he will be retiring when the contract expires on Dec. 31.
"With the support of my wife, I've decided to retire from my position as borough administrator at the end of the year," Bennett said. "I will continue to give 110 percent to my job and my community until my last day."
Bennett's contract, which was adopted by a 4-3 vote with Mayor Michael Mahon breaking the tie to approve it, includes no retirement benefits as he is a retired state employee and shows that his annual salary is $125,000.
Bennett named several of the positive things he has worked to accomplish in the borough since he was hired on Jan. 1, 2014 including relocating services lost to Hurricane Sandy, overseeing the new ownership at Monmouth Park and working with the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) to redevelop Fort Monmouth. He also thanked the borough employees he has worked with over the last few years, but said recent "personal attacks" against him have shifted his focus away from his job.
"All those positive feelings and accomplishments have recently been overshadowed by personal attacks leveled against me," Bennett said. "While we have achieved much during my time here, there are still many significant issues facing our community."
Bennett's lack of contract and the fact that he holds other positions outside of Oceanport as the borough attorney for Colts Neck and Keansburg drew the ire of residents.
Bennett said no administrator has ever had a contract in Oceanport and that he has never been accused of not doing his job by any member of the governing body.
Mayor Michael Mahon said Bennett will aid in the hiring of his replacement and that one should be selected before the end of the year.
"We can't miss a day with the problems we have as a borough," Mahon said.