Four officers within the Bernardsville Borough police department will be promoted to a higher rank as of Jan. 1, a change reflecting the retirement of one officer earlier this year, and the planned retirement of a second in 2014, Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine announced.
The promotions already were approved last week by the Bernardsville Borough Council.
Following this year's retirement of Captain Michael Perez, the borough police department has been reorganized to eliminate the current captains' position and to create an second lieutenant’s position, Valentine said. Two new sergeants are being promoted to replace vacancies created by the Lieutenant promotions, he added.
Valentine said that the department's total police staffing remains unchanged at 18 sworn officers. He added that is one fewer than the 19 officers in place several years ago.
He said he would announce the name of the next officer to retire when those plans are final. "Only one person will be retiring in 2014 as of right now, reducing our staffing to 17 until a new officer is hired to replace him after he exits," he added.
Although the promoted officers will receive higher pay at their new rank, they will not receive additional raises, he added.
Valentine said the Bernardsville PBA bargaining unit has been without a contract for two years so the salaries are frozen at previous levels.
"The pay increase would involve them collecting their new rate of pay in a new position," he said. "There is no increase in the rate of pay at each position, the raise is attributed to the new position they will hold."
Valentine said a selection process within the department had been conducted and completed by the time the Borough Council acted on the promotions.
"These promotions will ensure that there is adequate supervision and management in place to operate the department," Valentine said. He said the newly appointed supervisers would provide necessary leadership and would be "fortifying the internal stability" of the department.
All of the officers promoted were selected from within the existing ranks of the borough police department, he said. "The officers promoted were selected from a pool of applicants that included some well qualified and experienced officers," he added.
He said he will move the officers into their new positions of responsibility as soon as possible.
The promotions are:
Sgt. John Gardner is being promoted to the rank of lieutenant, the chief said. As lieutenant he will assume command of the operations division. Gardner began his career with the Bernardsville Police Department in 1987, and has served as a patrol officer and DARE officer in the school drug education program. I
n 1994, Gardner was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Lt. Gardner is a graduate of Ramapo State College and has a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology.
Sgt. John Remian also is being promoted to the rank of lieutenant. As lieutenant, he will assume responsibility for commanding the patrol division. Lt. Remian began his career with the Bernardsville police department in 1993 where he also served as a patrol officer and DARE officer.
In 2000, Remian was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Remain has a Bachelor’s Degree in the Administration of Justice from Rutgers University.
Patrol officer Jeffrey Melitski is being promoted to the rank of sergeant under the approved changes, Valentine said. Melitski previously served as a police officer on the Warren Township police department and later was hired in Bernardsville in 2002.
Melitski, a graduate of Bernards High School, previously served as a patrol Officer and DARE officer. Melitski has a Bachelor’s Degree from Southwest University which he obtained in 2013.
Patrol officer Jon-Paul Tay also is promoted to the rank of sergeant. Tay was hired in Bernardsville in 2002 after previously being employed as a United States Customs Officer.
Tay previously had been assigned to the patrol division and currently serves as the department’s lead firearms instructor. He also is a member of the Somerset County Emergency Response Team. Tay has a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from Seton Hall University.