Jefferson Township Engineer Ed Haack announced his impending retirement in plenty of time for the township administration to implement a succession plan.

By budgeting for a second hire in the 2020 budget, council and the administration set the wheels in motion to hire an engineer to work alongside Hack for several months to assure a smooth transition.

At the recent township council meeting, Township Administrator Debi Millikin said Jim Lutz will start on December 1. Hack will stay on for several months, although he said he will cut his hours back in August or September.

Council also addressed the future of White Rock Lake.

The township foreclosed on the clubhouse and parking lot, which are one lot, and the beach, which is a second lot. The homeowners retain ownership of the lake. The township has considered leasing the lake, and Recreation Director Grace Rhinesmith has a number of ideas for using the entire parcel. Millikin said this would involve hiring lifeguards and insuring the property.

Council was advised by its attorney to discuss the lease agreement in closed session because there is always the possibility it will go to litigation, Mayor Eric Wilsusen said.

He noted insurance can be very costly when a lake is involved.

Rhinesmith will be invited to discuss the future plans with council.

Wilsusen asked council to consider a policy for naming locations in the community for residents.

Several places in the township, including roads and Mitchko Mountain, named for a former mayor, have been designated over the years, but no policy was ever formalized.

The mayor said the daughter of one of his predecessors, Evelyn Brown, would like a cabin at Camp Jefferson named for her mother. He would like a policy to make it smoother to fulfill these requests.

The township recently named a hiking trail for retired administrator James Leach and three school buildings (one of which now houses the Board of Education) on the Lake Hopatcong side of the township were named by the school district for school board members Arthur Stanlick and Robert Drummond and educator Ellen T. Briggs.

Road renaming is a little different, Wilsusen said.

While some roads in the township are named for families that historically owned property there, such as Bird Lane and Felter Place, those names are original. Re-naming a road can cause problems for the people who live on it because of address changes. The township addressed this when it wanted to honor John Thomas Wroblewski, who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq. They left the official road name and added a plaque above it honoring the fallen hero.

Councilwoman Debi Bennett noted once something is named for a resident that name should be permanent.

“The original decision to name should live beyond us,” Councilman Jay Dunham concurred.

Councilman Bob Birmingham said there should be standards, such as the length of service to the township, which group made the suggestion, and how suggestions are reviewed.

Township Attorney Thomas Ryan said there are certain state and federal laws that address honoring people by naming something after them, but primarily they require consistent standards. He suggested adopting an ordinance.


Never miss a headline!

Sign up to have The Jefferson Chronicle emails/breaking alerts and Print Edition sent free to your inbox. Subscribe >>