Morristown’s council should never have to worry about being on firm legal ground.
Members unanimously have approved Kevin D. Harris, an attorney for the city of East Orange, as the new town clerk.
Harris starts on Jan. 2, 2015, at an annual salary of $80,000. He succeeds Matthew Stechauner, who retired in August after 25 years in town hall.
“His many years of experience with the inner workings of municipal government will be a tremendous asset to the municipal clerk’s office,” Council President Rebecca Feldman said of Harris.
Under Morristown’s form of government, the clerk is appointed by the council and his duties include serving as secretary to the council and to the town’s corporate entity. The clerk also is the town’s election official. He has a three-person staff and maintains ordinances and contracts, and is registrar of vital statistics.
The clerk also oversees issuance of town permits and licenses, including 45 liquor licenses, in his capacity as secretary to the town’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission (the town council).
Harris’ knowledge of state alcohol regulations, and his familiarity with state open records laws and parliamentary procedures such as Robert’s Rules of Order set him apart, said town Administrator Michael Rogers.
“He possessed a very unique skill set,” Rogers said, noting that about 80 people applied for the job, and approximately 25 were interviewed.
Mayor Tim Dougherty said he was “very impressed” by the incoming clerk.
Harris earned a law degree from the Regent University School of Law in Virginia, and presently serves as senior assistant corporate counsel for East Orange.
Over the winter, Harris anticipates completing the final course he needs to obtain his municipal clerk’s license, Rogers said.
According to Feldman, Harris has three years to satisfy that licensing requirement.
“He has worked with clerks offices, and is very familiar with the functions of municipal government,” the council president said.
Deputy Clerk Robin Kesselmeyer has been serving as acting clerk. She did not seek the permanent appointment.