OCEAN COUNTY – Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-9th) was hired as the Director of Administration and Program Development for the Ocean County Health Department, but assured residents that he will continue to serve their needs as an elected representative.
Daniel Regenye, Public Health Coordinator, described this position as a business administrator for the Health Department. He will be overseeing such aspects as human resources, employee insurance and benefits, risk management, finance, purchasing, and union contracts.
Rumpf, an attorney and former mayor of Little Egg Harbor, said that the job is about managing the day-to-day operations of the department.
“I represented numerous clients in civil service. I also represented the Board of Health (in Toms River) for a number of years,” he said of his experience.
The job is full time, which has created questions as to how he would still serve residents as an assemblyman in the 9th Legislative District, which encompasses the following towns: Barnegat Light, Barnegat, Bass River, Beach Haven, Beachwood, Berkeley, Eagleswood, Galloway, Harvey Cedars, Lacey, Little Egg Harbor, Long Beach, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach, Port Republic, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, South Toms River, Stafford, Surf City, Tabernacle, Tuckerton, Waretown and Washington Township.
“The legislative position has always been part time in this state,” he said. However, “Most days, I’m usually the one to turn the lights on in the morning and turn them off at night.”
There are days when he has to be in Trenton, and the understanding is that he will make up that time with the Health Department.
“A 40-hour-a-week position is not something I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “There’s always more time required, and likewise I expect this to be the same.”
On a personal level, he has the time to devote to both the Health Department and the Assembly, he said. His children are grown now, and are both in college. After suffering a really bad fall several years ago, he’s had to cut back on his involvement with his private law practice.
“I’m entirely divested from the law firm,” he said. “My wife, Deb, is a public school teacher. She took a leave of absence to run the firm. She was running it without me for most of 2017. My first name, anyway, is off the building.”
When towns appoint him into a position like public defender, it is not actually him, but someone in his firm, he said. He does not intend on giving up his license.
“It’s been a real rough six years,” he said of his recovery.
Some people have criticized the appointment as a political patronage job, but Rumpf and Regenye both deny that.
Regenye explained how Rumpf’s application was treated the same as others. He was appointed at the Board of Health’s Jan. 3 meeting. The current board members are Chairman John (Jack) Mallon, Sen. Robert Singer, Richard Work, Carol Blake, Christopher Dasti, Toms River Councilman Maurice Hill, Lacey administrator Veronica Laureigh, Henry Mancini, and Ruthanne Scaturro.
It’s a provisional appointment, Regenye explained. This means that since it’s a civil service job, he will have to test for the position. If, for some reason, he tests poorly, then his continued employment would be questioned.
The test has not been scheduled, he said. The tests are overseen by the state, and could take weeks or even more than a year. The position is necessary, and so it’s imperative to get someone into the job right away. They can’t wait for the state to schedule a test.
The job was previously held by Victoria Miragliotto, who retired, he said. She was earning in the mid-$160,000s after being in the position for many years.
Rumpf said he said he is not taking benefits from the Health Department position.
The position was listed for a month in the magazine published by the New Jersey League of Municipalities, which is where a lot of these kinds of jobs are posted, Regenye said. At least four to five people applied. Of those, he spoke to three.
The posting read:
“The Ocean County Health Department is seeking a FT experienced government administrator with proven management, leadership and communication skills. The successful candidate will be highly experienced in strategic planning in government structure, with expert working knowledge of N.J.S.A.40A:4, 5,11 and N.J.A.C. 4A who will play a key role in the preparation of the annual agency budget. Must have knowledge of authoring resolutions, ordinances and preparing governing body meeting agendas. Perform specialized administrative assignments and other assigned duties. Must have 5+ years supervisory experience in human resources (specifically Civil Service regulations) for a major public personnel program including review of classification problems and wage studies, handling personnel problems, coordination of the training needs of the jurisdiction and investigations. 5+ supervisory years in risk management, including comprehensive liability, workers compensation and employee benefits. Extensive experience in collective bargaining agreements, and county and municipal finance regulations. Must have knowledge and experience with OPRA (Open Public Records Act), ability to create policy and procedures and the ability to work with and communicate effectively with government officials, department heads, employees, volunteers and the general public. Salary commensurate with experience. This is a civil service position requiring a minimum of a Master’s Degree or Juris Doctor. CMFO/ CCFO/ QPA certifications and familiarity with the Edmunds system are a plus.”