Officials in Galloway Township and neighboring Absecon plan to enter into an agreement this month to share the services of Township Administrator Arch Liston.
Absecon City Council authorized the shared services agreement during its regular meeting Thursday. Galloway Township Council will consider the deal at its regular meeting Tuesday.
If the measure is approved by the respective governing bodies, beginning July 1, Liston would divide his time between Galloway and Absecon, serving as Absecon’s acting administrator in addition to his work in the township.
Liston would work one-third of the week from Absecon’s Municipal Complex but would be available at any time to respond to the immediate needs of either municipality.
As part of the agreement, Absecon would reimburse Galloway for one-third of the cost of his salary plus indirect benefits, officials said. Officials in both municipalities said they believe the arrangement will save taxpayers considerable expense without loss of administrative efficiency. Absecon projects the savings to the city alone could be as much as $100,000 each year.
Liston, 57, has worked as Galloway’s manager since April 2012 and earns a salary of $115,000. When he was appointed to the Galloway Township manager position last year, Liston followed Steve Bonanni, who retired in January 2012. Bonanni was hired as township manager following the firing of Roger Tees, who served in the position for about six months.
Liston is a former Mount Holly police chief and township manager, and Hoboken and Bridgeton city administrator.
Galloway and Absecon would enter into the arrangement on a trial basis, and it would run through December. At the end of the trial, either municipality could suggest necessary adjustments or decide to terminate the arrangement.
Absecon Mayor John Armstrong described the endeavor as an unprecedented cooperative agreement between Atlantic County municipalities.
“Absecon and Galloway are the first towns to attempt to share administrators. We believe that this arrangement can work well. It is certainly worth a try, and it could prompt additional shared services to reduce costs and improve efficiency,” Armstrong said.
With the recent economic downturn, local governments need to be creative to save taxpayer dollars, said Absecon City Council President Jim Vizthum.
Galloway Mayor Don Purdy said he strongly supports the potential arrangement and that officials hope to continue moving forward and look at all other avenues for shared services.
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