Joe Gets Comfortable

Or as comfortable as one can get in the land of "38,000 people, 38,000 opinions." Phil Read catches up with Montclair’s Joseph Hartnett in today’s Star Ledger, with a love letter of sorts to the town manager.

Hartnett can rattle off a laundry list of accomplishments, not the least of which is a "zero tax increase" in this year’s municipal budget. He’s been behind the launch of a newsletter, part of his communication strategy; the naming of Montclair’s first African-American fire chief; the re-invigorating of First Night Montclair.

"We are nowhere near where we want to be," he said. "We haven’t even hit our stride yet."

Two goals — an interactive Web site and improved cable-TV station — remain elusive, he said. The latter is a sore point for Mattox, who sits on the cable-TV committee and is impatient with the progress. "You know what? Who’s in control of it? Who’s in control of the speed?"

For now, Hartnett, who in August closed on his Rockcliffe co-op overlooking Montclair, is still out scouting with his wife for real estate in his pricey new hometown of Montclair. "I think we’d prefer to be in a house," he said.

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