Today’s Asbury Park Press profiles Gary Watson Sr., a Red Bank kid who rose through the ranks of the borough police department, retired, and came back five years ago in civvies to help run the town.
He’s now the deputy business administrator and acting public works director, overseeing trash pickup and recycling, snow removal, road road maintenance and parking.
The Press’ Larry Higgs reports that in his 27 years as a cop, Watson held every position except chief a job that was also his for the taking:
He was offered the top job but turned it down, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.
“There was a time when one of our chiefs retired, and I was part of the council, we actually offered Gary the opportunity to assume the position of chief,” Menna said. “He declined it. And he didn’t decline because he didn’t think he could do the job. He declined it because he thought there were other people who had served a little bit longer who deserved the opportunity before him.”
Eventually, Watson retired from the force in 1998, and after a brief stint in the Prosecutor’s Office, he was offered the position of deputy borough administrator in 2003.
The story doesn’t mention that Watson may be one of the nattiest-dressed garbage administrator in these parts, but it does convey his positive outlook and give a sense of his deep ties to the borough, even though he now lives in Ocean County.
“Especially having been born and raised here, and then my whole career here, so I have commitments to the people, especially a lot of the elder people,” Watson said. “I feel a commitment to them that they can depend on me, to take care of them, to make sure they are getting their just due. So it always makes me feel good when people call me directly and I’m able to handle it, because, you know, it’s always nice to know that when they talk to me, it’s going to be OK.”
“Gary is a self-made person,” Menna said. “He started from the bottom, he started as a patrolman in the Red Bank Police Department, and he rose on his own personal initiative, his intelligence and his ability to deal with people.”