By Cheryl Conway
As a Mt. Olive resident for the past three years,
Andrew Tatarenko has a vested interest in his new role as Mt. Olive Township Business Administrator.
Preparing for his official start in two weeks on Oct. 2, Tatarenko replaces Laura Harris of Long Valley, who resigned this past May after 21 months on the job. In his most recent position, Tatarenko worked as business administrator of Waldwick Borough for two and a half years.
As he did in Waldwick, his goal is to help make Mt. Olive the best community it can be.
“For the past five years, all my efforts have been geared toward making Waldwick a better community,” says Tatarenko. “I am excited to use my skills and continue my hard work to enhance the community I call home.”
Living in the same town that one works, with the ability to make improvement, is an ideal position to be in.
“My family and I decided to move to Mt. Olive three years ago,” says Tatarenko. “Being a municipal manager, I always felt it was important to have a vested interest in the community you serve. Being able to both live and work in the same community allows me to have a direct impact. Mt. Olive is a great place to raise a family and I look forward to working and joining the staff of Mt. Olive Township.”
His goals are to “help the mayor and council continue the great services that have been provided in the past and to enhance the quality of life of the Mt. Olive residents,” he says. “I will achieve this by ensuring that employees are continuously trained and provide them with the resources to develop professionally in order to deliver great service. I will also look for ways to increase efficiency and be a resource of information to the community.”
As a resident, Tatarenko is no stranger to improvements desired.
“Being a resident has allowed me to see firsthand what areas in town can use improvements,” he says. “During my discussions with the mayor and council, I’ve shared ideas about providing shade structures at Turkey Brook Park over the playgrounds, streamlining recycling pickup, providing a Summer Concert Series, re-vamping the website and rolling out an e-newsletter. I plan on giving all of our policies and procedures a fresh look to try to enhance the services.”
Tatarenko started his career working in the private sector for six years as a financial advisor and later transitioned to the public sector. He worked for the City of Clifton from 2009-2012 as the deputy city clerk, the assistant administrator in Waldwick from 2013-2015, and then borough administrator there.
For his schooling, Tatarenko went through the Clifton Public School System, obtained a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Villanova University and a master’s of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also holds a Registered Municipal Clerk (RMC) and Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) certification.
“I have experience managing large scale capital improvement projects -municipal pool improvements, road rehabilitation, track resurfacing, playground installations, etc.- which will help me navigate through some of the future projects in Mt. Olive,” he says. “My experience in grant writing will also assist in acquiring local, state and federal grants where applicable. Overall, my passion for the profession and striving to offer the best services possible will be an attribute to the position.”
He looks forward to his new role.
“I am open and ready to handle any challenge that comes my way,” he says, adding that his start date is “just in time to be involved in the 2018 budget discussions.”
To prepare, he has been meeting with employees and residents at various events and is planning an informal “meet and greet” with the mayor and staff before his official start.
“From what I’ve seen, the staff is very committed to providing great services to its residents,” he says. “I’m sure I’ll appreciate the commute to work and having an active role in the community.”
Township officials look forward to the expertise Tatarenko brings to Mt. Olive.
“Andrew was selected for a number of reasons, he had done the job successfully in another town, Waldwick (Bergen County), he had the right personality to be very successful in Mt. Olive, he also lives in town,” says Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum. “There are many open projects which will need to be managed by Andrew.”
Greenbaum says township officials began looking for a new business administrator at the time that the former business administrator, Laura Harris, made the decision to resign and seek other employment. Harris had replaced Sean Canning, who held his appointment since Jan. 2012.
Harris’ reason for departure has not been shared.
“I was sorry and surprised as well but unfortunately I can’t comment at this time,” said Harris in late June about her departure.
“You would have to ask Laura as to why she left,” was Greenbaum’s response.
“There were approximately 50 resumes received for the BA position, of which approximately 10 were interviewed,” says Greenbaum. “The offer was made by me to Andrew soon after his interview. The employment required council consent which was done at a recent meeting.”
To assist the business administrator, Claudia Tomasello was hired when Harris was on board to serve as the assistant business administrator.
“The town, as large as we are, number of employees, issues, requires a full time BA,” explains Greenbaum. “Claudia will remain on as assistant BA. She handles many day to day issues, resident issues, personnel issues and has been doing a fantastic job. The asst. BA position is something we have had in Mt. Olive for many years, although not recently.”