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RUMSON HAILS NEW UNIFORMED LEADERS

Mayor John Ekdahl, center, calls the annual reorganization meeting to order at Bingham Hall. Below, Ekdahl swears in Scott Paterson as police chief while Paterson’s wife, Stephanie, and children look on. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The start of the new year signaled changes in command of Rumson’s emergency services Tuesday.

Scott Paterson, a 19-year veteran of the police department, was sworn in as police chief, succeeding Rick Tobias. And Jymm Fenn moved up the ladder at the fire department for a one-year term as fire chief.

The calendar change also saw the departure of the borough’s longtime recreation department head, John Hird.

New fire Chief Jymm Fenn, left, and Assistant Chief Bob Halligan. (Click to enlarge)

With a small crowd filling the immaculately restored Bingham Hall on Bingham Avenue, Paterson officially assumed leadership of the 15-officer police department, which he’d been leading on an interim basis since late summer. The 46-year-old old Fair Haven native and Tinton Falls resident joined the squad in 1993 and rose to the rank of lieutenant before being tapped to fill Tobias’s chair.

Fenn stepped into the role of fire chief, succeeding Paul Halligan. The fire department answered 175 calls during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, said Mayor John Ekdahl – roughly half the total for the year. Max Ross returned as captain of the first aid squad, which responded to 67 emergencies during the storm.

Town officials noted the retirement of Hird, who’s headed the rec department since 1989, when it oversaw just four or five sports, said Ekdahl. Today, the operation embraces more than a dozen sports that bring in 4,000 to 5,000 children a year, said recreation commission chairman John Lembeck.

“I’ve always said his was he hardest job in town” because of the challenges of scheduling, dealing with parents and more, Ekdahl said.

A search for a successor to Hird is down to three finalists and will be concluded shortly, Ekdahl said.

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