Barnegat Lays Off Three Employees, Enters Shared Services Agreement With Ocean
Ocean staff will work out of Barnegat town hall
Three Barnegat Township employees have been laid off as a result of a shared services agreement with Ocean Township.
Barnegat's tax collector, zoning officer and recreation director were terminated Wednesday ahead of a shared services meeting in Waretown, where Barnegat and Ocean Township officials approved a joint resolution to share the three positions, said David Breeden, who is the administrator for both municipalities.
As part of the agreement, employees from Ocean will fill the terminated positions in Barnegat and will serve both towns, Breeden said. The agreement is expected to reduce operating costs by $311,000 per year, officials said.
"The biggest cost in government is people and personnel," he said. "The only way to effect long-term, significant savings is to reduce your workforce. We have a fantastic working relationship with Ocean Township, and it seemed like the logical next step to realize even more cost savings."
Breeden said each affected department had strong support staff, and the township is confident they'll be able to absorb the additional work.
The layoffs had nothing to do with the performance of the three who lost their jobs, Breeden said. Eliminating Barnegat staff and replacing them with workers from Waretown was a way to strike a balance between the two municipalities, so no one felt the other had greater control over the agreement.
"They were solid employees," he said. "This was purely a business decision. At the end of the day, we received a message from the township that they want to lower operating costs, and the only way to accomplish that is by reducing personnel."
Barnegat Mayor Al Cirulli said it's never easy to lay off staff.
"The last six years, we've done everything through attrition, and this is really the first time since I've been on that we've had to actually cut positions," he said. But the state, he said, "really doesn't give townships any choice. You have to do what you have to do. And if there's anything we can do to help the employees that lost their jobs, we will."