Princeton Township Police Chief Robert Buchanan and Business Administrator Jim Pascale are both retiring at the end of the month.
Both formally handed in their resignations this week.
“There is nothing out of the ordinary about it. This is nothing other than a good story,” Buchanan told Planet Princeton via phone today. “I’ve been thinking about it a long time. I want to enjoy my family and my health while I still have it.”
Buchanan said consolidation had nothing to do with his decision.
“Not really, “he said when asked. “I don’t want to compete against Chief Dudeck. It is not fair for either of us to compete against each other. Rather than compete for a position I already hold, I decided to retire. I was not against consolidation and I never said I was. I’ve been to the pension board office , and I realized – not that I’m losing money – but that it is not profitable for me to work any more. Speaking with my family, I decided it was time for me to go.”
Buchanan said he is looking forward to the good weather coming up, flying helicopters and riding his motorcycle.
“I’m very happy, very excited, though it is sad to go,” Buchanan said. “It is a great police department. I love being chief, and I love everyone I work with.”
Planet Princeton contacted Pascale Monday for comment on reports that he was resigning, but he did not respond. The Township issued a press release announcing his retirement today.
Pascale has been a township employee for almost three decades. He initially served as the assistant administrator under former administrator Joseph Nini in 1976. He left Princeton in 1979 to serve for four years as the administrator of Mahwah and returned to Princeton Township as administrator in 1983to succeed Nini.
“It was a great honor to serve the residents of Princeton Township for so many years, and the staff here has been incomparable”, Pascale said in a press release.
Township Mayor Chad Goerner, contacted Monday by Planet Princeton about the resignations, would not confirm or deny them and said he had no comment. “I’m sure there is a lot of rumblings going on these days,” he said Monday. “I have no comments to make at this time.”
In the press release released by the township this morning, he praised Pascale.
“Jim has skillfully navigated the Township through the prosperous times and the lean years,” he said in the release. “His knowledge, experience and ever-present calming force will be undoubtedly missed by staff, officials and residents.”
Kathryn Monzo, the Township’s CFO, will be appointed acting administrator effective immediately.
“Kathy will bring her management talent, financial acumen and abilities to both the day-to-day management of the Township and the transition process, Goerner said in the release. “On behalf of Township Committee, I have every confidence in Kathy and
look forward to working with her in the months ahead.”
Word started to spread Friday that Buchanan would be leaving. Both Buchanan and Pascale have been absent from key transition task force meetings the last several days. Officials said Buchanan was “under the weather”. Lieutenant Chris Morgan filled in for Buchanan at the transition task force meeting Saturday and Pascale was absent. Sources say Morgan will likely be the officer in charge, but nothing is official yet.
Asked late yesterday about the two retirements, Borough officials had not been informed. Pascale and Buchanan’s retirements come as officials, employees and task force members from both Princetons are intensively working on the logistics of consolidation. One of the biggest issues is personnel. The task force has been considering what kind of package to offer employees in duplicate positions who are not kept on, but no decision on severance or an early retirement package has been reached yet.
Check back for updates on this story later in the day.