EDISON – The township has a new interim business administrator and marketing and public relations firm, two of the changes brought by Mayor Sam Joshi's new administration.
Matthew Watkins has been hired as interim business administrator for three months until March 31 for $75,000. He replaces Maureen Ruane, who had served as Edison's business administrator since August 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Watkins, principal consultant with NJ Community Solutions, has 40 years of experience in municipal and state administration. He has served as administrator to local government in suburban and urban communities, served as president of NJ Municipal Management Association, NJ PERC Commissioner and New Jersey Director of Local Government Services, according to his LinkedIn page.
He also has experience with complicated redevelopment issues, his page says.
He previously served as Bloomfield's township administrator and South Brunswick's township manager.
Edison also awarded a professional services contract to Vision Media Marketing to provide public relations and communications consulting services for a one year at a cost of $60,000.
The public relations firm will be helping to refresh the township's branding assets and respond to media inquiries as the administration works to communicate with residents about town events and alerts, township officials said.
Recently Joshi attended the biannual U.S. Conference of Mayors, a four-day event designed for mayors to review best practices, collaborate on initiatives and advocate for their community's needs.
On Thursday Joshi met with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. to discuss municipal broadband, a key issue during Joshi's mayoral campaign. The high-speed internet would provide an alternative to the widely used Optimum in the township.
Booker offered some insight. In 2017 he introduced the Community Broadband Act, which aimed to preserve communities' rights to invest in broadband networks.
"If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that access to affordable, reliable internet is a necessity for our economy and education systems," Joshi said. "With the help of national leaders like Cory Booker, we'll ensure that Edison children can do their homework and local businesses can thrive."
Joshi’s met Wednesday with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. to ask for infrastructure funding for water, sewage and road systems.
Joshi requested money to clean up the Raritan River. He plans to clean up Edison’s portion of the waterway and eventually build a privately funded marina. The mayor said turning the unused land into a marina will generate millions and revenue and increase the value of nearby homes.
“We have a seven-mile riverfront that needs to be utilized,” Joshi said. “The Edison Marina will be a getaway to our waterfront and beautify one of our greatest resources while also creating new jobs and opportunities, and it will be one-hundred percent paid for by private companies.”
Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Edison Mayor Sam Joshi's administration announces shakeup at town hall