Ideal Candidate

Relevant Experience

We’re flexible and are not looking for an “Administrator in a Box”. The successful candidate may have relevant experience from a variety of sectors. However, you know the drill and we don’t want to create false expectations. All candidates must have senior executive level management experience and must be able to demonstrate knowledge of municipal issues including human resources and collective bargaining; New Jersey Local Fiscal, Local Budget and Local Publics Contract Law; managing large scale projects and project management, etc. While the size and scope of previous experience (department size, reporting structure, budget, etc.) will not be the ultimate deciding factor, relevant experience must relate appropriately to the size and complexity of South Orange. We’re far from a sleepy town and our residents demand and deserve someone who will “bring it” and leave the bureaucracy behind. The Get ‘Er Done mentality is alive and well in our town.

Key Competencies

By now, you can hopefully appreciate how forthright we are in what we want in our next Village Administrator; but we’re also going to take it a step further and let you know exactly what’s strategically needed from the ideal candidate and why.

A Passion for Public Service

Government has a bad reputation but we’re not jaded and hope you aren’t either.  There is so much we can do at the local level to improve the lives of our residents.  If you have a fire in the belly and passion for public service, that’s a really important first step.

Team Player

We don’t govern with a top-down approach.  Decisions are made with the input of all stakeholders including our staff, consultants, a vast array of boards, commissions, and advisory committees, and most importantly – our residents.  We agree to disagree all the time and that’s healthy and expected.  If this is not the type of culture you’re accustomed to or want to be involved with, this is not for you.


This is an exciting time as we’re launching a Comprehensive Master Plan, the last one was done in the late 1970s and has been through a series of new elements and re-examinations. The new Village Administrator will help shape the long-term future of the town so this is perfect timing. Additionally, as South Orange is an age-friendly community, the ideal candidate will also have knowledge of and a history of providing senior services and incorporating age-friendliness with all long-term goals.

Nerdy for Numbers

You can find our budget and financial documents hereAs you can see, our residents pay some of the highest taxes in the state and in the country and it’s not sustainable. Like most towns – we need to control costs by identifying efficiencies and leveraging technology, sharing or consolidating services, aggressively pursuing grants, and identifying smart growth opportunities to increase our ratable base. On top of that we have a series of major capital improvements that are currently underway. We recently took back control of our water system and are updating our water infrastructure; we’re in the process of selling our historic Village Hall and consolidating our former municipal operations into a makeover of our library; a renovation of our Baird Community Center is currently underway as is a multi-million-dollar renovation of our Police Headquarters. We’re also currently negotiating and evaluating a consolidation of our Fire Department with our sister community of Maplewood. Prioritization and budget-crunching is a key responsibility for our next Village Administrator.

Project Management

We’re looking for very strong project management skills. Projects and initiatives are expected to be done on time, within budget, and prepared in a format that assigns roles and responsibilities, timelines and status reports.  Executing for results is very self-explanatory.

Redevelopment and Land Use

We have several active redevelopment projects underway or under consideration and we have an outstanding team of professionals involved with our process including a planning firm, specialized redevelopment counsel, financial analyst, and a volunteer Development Committee comprised of professionals in real estate, planning, architecture, finance, land use law, transportation, retail, and business recruitment.   The ideal candidate will have knowledge and experience in Municipal Land Use Law, the Local Housing and Redevelopment Law, redevelopment, tax incentives, pro formas, and negotiating deals that are in the best interest of the community while leveraging smart growth principles.


As the saying goes, the left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing.  For all intents and purposes, South Orange is more like an Octopus.  Communication flows back and forth continuously between staff and consultants, elected officials, the press, neighborhood associations, civic organizations, boards, commissions, advisory committees, etc., and we continually strive to do even better.  We have a very engaged community and are looking for a leader who knows how to communicate effectively and timely and will work with staff to leverage a variety of platforms to accomplish this goal.

Stewardship of Community Values

South Orange puts a premium on its diversity and the Village Administrator must support our vision as an inclusive and welcoming community to all people irrespective of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or immigration status.  In the heart of our downtown, you will see banners that read “Everybody Belongs Here” – and we mean it.  It is a continuous work in progress to build and sustain a community where everyone feels safe, valued, and celebrated for who they are – this is non-negotiable.