By DON STINE
Former Neptune mayor and Township Committeeman Randy Bishop was appointed this week as the new executive director of the township’s Senior Center.
Bishop will begin his new job July 1. He is leaving his position with the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections, where he has been for the last two years.
“(The new job) really gives me the ability to come home again and serve the people- and that means a great deal to me. And I am honored they selected me,” he said.
His appointment comes on the heels of the controversial removal of the previous executive director, Brian T. Butch. On March 13, Butch was placed on paid administrative leave while a review of senior center operations and staff was conducted.
Earlier the township’s labor counsel conducted an administrative review of the internal operations of the senior center. This report found Butch to be in violation of the township’s employee handbook and other polices. On April 23 he was officially removed from the post.
A resolution passed last month “finalized discipline and terminated employment” of Butch for “neglect of duty, lack of productivity, insubordination, and disorderly and/or immoral conduct.”
Butch’s sudden removal dismayed not only Butch but many senior center members who filled the meeting room and were very vocal about their concerns at several township meetings. Many seniors urged the governing body to reinstate him.
Seniors cited Butch for bringing interesting and innovation programs and events to the senior center since he was appointed in 2016. Butch, along with many seniors, said there has never been any explanation about why he was removed.
Resident Michael Golub said the Bishop’s hiring may be “a rash decision” since a lawsuit filed by Butch over his dismissal has not been resolved yet.
“We don’t know how this will shake out legally. There could be no end to an investigation at this juncture. This could be extremely disruptive to the community. It’s like a wound that you are not letting heal,” he said.
Mayor Nicholas Williams said that Bishop was one of eight applicants for the job, of which six were interviewed. He said Bishop has the necessary managerial skills and was the governing body’s liaison to the senior center when he served on the Township Committee.
Other residents said that Bishop was a “topnotch” and “top-of-the-line” selection.
“He is an excellent selection,” resident Jack Bredin said.
Bishop said he promises to make the senior center stronger and bring in innovation programs.
“I look forward to coming home,” he said.