By Maryanne Cdristiano-Mistretta
Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths announced that he will be retiring in Spring 2017, leaving a position he’s held for 16 years.
“I reached retirement age,” said Raths. “And I’m at a place in my life where it was a good time.”
Of Raths’ many accomplishments, too many to name he said, he felt it was a great 16 years working with the mayor and council.
In the press release, Raths noted “favorite and most meaningful volunteer work” takes place each year during the annual Roxbury Day of Service.
Raths stated, “The reason I like the Day of Service is because it is organized entirely by residents to help the township’s senior citizens and less fortunate.”
Other accomplishments cited in the press release include Roxbury’s tax rate, one of the state’s lowest, its good bond ratings, municipal services, park systems, and overall quality of life.
A concern reflected in Rath’s retirement announcement was that these days one of his goals is to help improve Roxbury’s sense of identity, noting that many people, even residents, identify more with their localities than with the township as a whole.
He also stated, “Whether you live in Landing, Kenvil, Berkshire Valley, Port Morris, Legewood, or Succasunna, Roxbury is a unique township because of its great sense of community spirit. It is this sense of community that allows us to achieve great things.”
In the release, Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee praised Raths, noting they’ve worked together for all his 16 years.
Riles stated, “He has been a real asset to Roxbury from his first day on the job. While we are sorry to see him retire, we respect his decision and are grateful for his many years of service and dedication to the township and its citizens.”
In 2011, Raths was named “Business Person of the Year” by the Roxbury Chamber of Commerce. Raths attends most chamber meetings. In regard to that honor he said, “It’s unusual for a town manager to be named ‘Business Person of the Year.’ The way we run the township in a business-like manner, they appreciated it. I was quite honored with that.”
In addition to his duties as township manager, Raths is also an active member of the Township’s Rotary Club, and a frequent volunteer around the community.
When Raths leaves office, his future plans include hiking the Appalachian Trail, something he’s been wanting to pursue for quite some time. He said, “After that maybe a little traveling. I’ll be volunteering around. We’ll be in Roxbury a couple years. Nothing for sure.”
Raths was raised in Alabama and was paid $160,000 by Roxbury. Prior to being hired by Roxbury in 2001, he served as municipal manager for towns in North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Raths lives in Roxbury with his wife Alison. The Raths raised two daughters in Roxbury, according to his retirement announcement.
In regard to a replacement, Raths said that the Council will go through a nationwide search.
He said, “I’m sure you’ll get a lot of interested candidates. It will take several months to select a new manager.”