A little more than a year after she was hired to help Point Borough sort out its financial mess, Michelle A. Swisher is resigning as the town’s part-time chief financial officer.
Swisher’s letter of resignation was accepted by the Borough Council at its meeting on Tuesday night, though not unanimously, as the vote was split 4-2 along party lines. Democrats Christopher Leitner and Christopher Goss voted no.
Swisher also is the full-time tax collector and chief financial officer for Mantoloking.
In a telephone interiew on Wednesday morning, Swisher said she is staying at the job in Point until a replacement is found. She said she is resigning from Point Borough because working there combined with working full-time in Mantoloking has simply become too much for her and for her family.
"I've really enjoyed working there," she said of her Point Borough job. "But working 35 hours in Mantoloking and 18 hours in Point is 53 hours a week and it's really getting to me. I gave it my best shot. I'm surprised I was able to do it this long."
Swisher, a Freehold resident, said leaving the Borough will enable her to spend more time with her family, including her husband and three children, the youngest of which is 13 years old. The oldest just graduated from college and the third is a college freshman.
when Point Borough officials discovered that it had
On Wednesday, she said the extra challenges that faced the Borough were part of what drew her to the job.
"That's what attracted me to the job in the first place," she said. The Borough's records and financial standing are much better now and should continue to improve, she added.
"They just need to keep going forward and do what's best for the town," she said. "They have the tools, they have such potential."
Regarding "tools," Swisher said one example is the computer system is now set up correctly and integrated with relevant Borough data.
"The accounts were not hooked up correctly, but now the accounts and general ledgers are set up where they need to be," she said. "It will be easy to go forward."
“We are all sorry to see her leave,” Councilman Mitchell Remig said during his committee report at the Tuesday night meeting at “Hopefully we can replace her quickly, though she is staying until we hire someone new.”.
Swisher was contracted to work 18 hours per week at a salary of $45,000 per year with no benefits.
At the time, then-Councilman Jack McHugh said she was hired part-time because the borough was not comfortable with the budget picture and didn’t want to commit to hiring a full-time chief financial officer.
Council members praised Swisher for her assistance in helping to get the borough on solid financial footing.
“This was the first time in 20 years that we had a certified CFO,” Mayor William Schroeder said after the meeting. “We’re very happy she was able to help us as much as she did.”
Resident Laura Beeden of Spruce Street said the council should have anticipated Swisher’s resignation when it
Councilmember John Wisniewski, replying to Beeden’s comment, said there were concerns Swisher had expressed about the auditing firm having a personal issue against her. But, Wisniewski said, he spoke with one of the partners and was told that was not the case.
One of the partners serves on a county board with Swisher’s husband, Wisniewski said, and the partner told him there are no issues with her husband, either.
“Her letter indicates she is resigning for personal reasons,” Schroeder told Beeden. “You can’t pick a particular topic and read into it.”
As Beeden continued to try to press her point, Schroeder said, “Quite honestly, that’s not what we were told.”
“Michelle is a very private person,” said Leitner, who along with Goss, voted against accepting Swisher’s resignation letter.
“She’s chosen a very nonpolitical resolution and we need to respect that,” Goss said.
Swisher said her reason for leaving has nothing to do with the change in auditing firms, the professionals who work at the Borough's new auditing firm, her husband's position at a separate auditing firm or any of his business or other relationships. Her husband, Robert Swisher, is a partner at Suplee and Clooney, an auditing firm based in Union County.
"No, those aren't the reasons, it's just that the two jobs are wearing me out," she said.
Schroeder said he was unsure of a timetable to replace Swisher, estimating it would be at least a couple of months as the borough just posted the job notice on its website yesterday. He said the hope is the borough can find someone who is as good at the job as Swisher has been.