Township Manager Goes The Extra Mile

by Ashley Bouwense

Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths goes the distance for Roxbury Township—four miles every Friday, that is—to learn how he can better help the town through his Run with the Manager initiative.
For eight Fridays during the summer months, Raths meets at 6 p.m. at the Horseshoe Lake Recreation Complex to make his inspections while he runs around the park. During this time, he invites Roxbury citizens to run or walk with him to voice any concerns they have about the state of their community. August 19 was going to be the last scheduled Run with the Manager for 2016.
A few issues like road conditions, parks upkeep and high grass are a few examples of which people have informed Raths.
“I first started this about ten years ago because I wanted to get out to the community of Roxbury Township,” Raths said. “I wanted to be able to inspect the parks and, at the same time, give the residents a time to talk about areas that need to be looked over and given extra attention.”
Raths runs with about four to five people every Friday during the summer. Residents do not have to register to run; they can simply meet Raths at the park to run and chat at a comfortable pace. Raths brings a notepad and pen with him to jot down what people have to say while also noting his own concerns he observes during the run. Sometimes, Raths will stop people along his running route to ask them questions about the state of the parks.
Even though it is a running initiative, people do not have to run with Raths to voice their concerns. They can jog or walk with him, or they can even meet him on the trail and stop him for a quick chat. Raths even explained that residents can simply give him a phone call or send him an email if they felt more comfortable using those modes of communication. The Friday runs may be canceled for inclement weather.
Not only is Run with the Manager a good way to promote a healthy lifestyle in town, it helps promote citizen involvement in township affairs.
“I enjoy learning about the communities and learning about new people,” said Raths.
“I think Run with a Manager has been a ‘good run’ for multiple reasons” he said. “One, it gets my eyes on other outstanding communities; two, I can inspect the work people are doing in the parks; and three, it gives the public an opportunity to bring concerns directly to administration staff.”
Raths encourages Roxbury citizens to have an open dialogue with him, so whether that means lacing up their running shoes or picking up their phones, he is open to hearing what residents have to say so he can better serve the Roxbury Township community.
Residents can email Raths their concerns to rathsc@roxburynj.us or call his office at 973-448-2002.
To check run cancellations due to weather, visit the township website at www.roxburynj.us.

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