Administrator already on the job

A week after appointment,

Kevin Davis gets settled
By:Roger Alvarado
   After 17 years as a high-ranking state Republican Kevin P. Davis says he was looking for a new challenge.
   Earlier this month, the Berkeley Heights resident left his post as deputy executive director of the Senate Republican Office to assume the dual role of township administrator and acting municipal clerk in Hillsborough.
   Mr. Davis says that after working for so many years with the state he had a hankering to return to his roots in municipal government.
   "I had done a lot at the state level," Mr. Davis said, "my first desire has always been local government. I considered myself an expert on local government at the state legislative level and I always had my hand in it."
   Mr. Davis, 49, a 16-year resident of Berkeley Heights where he lives with his wife and two children, says he jumped at the chance to take over the reins in Hillsborough because it was a perfect fit for him.
   "Hillsborough is a great town and it has a lot of significant issues, budget and planning issues, the kind of challenge that I was looking for in government and it’s got some unique situations," Mr. Davis said.
   Born and raised in Hillside Township, Mr. Davis was his hometown’s administrator and clerk from 1985 to 1986.
   While in the position he was responsible for directing and managing the municipal government, which included a $15 million local budget, oversight of department heads, municipal clerk duties for the township committee, and election management.
   In addition to his past political experience Mr. Davis was honorably discharged from the Army after serving with the Judge Advocate General’s unit — the Army’s legal officers — in Europe from 1973 to 1976.
   Given his past experience he says he’s confident he can get the job done and meet the lofty expectations of Hillsborough’s residents.
   Despite being away from the local scene for over a decade, Mr. Davis says he remains well versed in municipal matters and expects his previous experience to make it that easier for him to get back into the flow of things.
   "Because of my legislative background things like changes in binding arbitration law and environmental statutes are things I have been in cognizant of and have been intimately involved," he added.
   Mr. Davis discussed the type of management style he brings to the township as its chief executive officer.
   "My management style is task- and goal-orientated," he said. "I make a plan and stick by it.
   "I believe this is serious business," he added. "We are spending taxpayer money — not government money — and I have a high understanding of the responsibility that goes with that."
   He says he believes that what sold him to Mayor Steven Sireci, Deputy Mayor Bob Wagner and the other members of Hillsborough’s Township Committee is their similar outlooks on municipal management.
   In the short time he has been in charge he says has begun developing positive assessments of those currently in positions of power in the township.
   "I think the department heads in the short time I’ve spent with them are dedicated people in the town that are doing their best to recognized efficiency and hold down costs," Mr. Davis said. "By being and holding people accountable we can be even more effective and efficient."
   Mr. Davis defined what he feels his job for the township will be.
   "The administrator is the chief executive officer of the municipal government and as such I will have to handle all the things that are going on," he said. "Things like the budget and personnel. The clerk is the secretary to the Township Committee and is responsible for maintaining official records.
   "I will count on a good staff to help me with that," he added. "The clerk is responsible for election administering, which is something I have done in the past and taken courses in."
   Despite the fact that he’ll wield a great deal of power in the town Mr. Davis says he’ll prefer to stay behind the scenes making the wheels of the municipality run properly.
   "The employees will know I’m there," he said. "But the elected officials are the public representatives of the town.
   "That’s not why I’m here," he added. "The greatest deal of satisfaction I get is from making government work correctly."