HILLSIDE, NJ — Hillside Business Administrator Stephanie Bush-Baskette heads off to Bridgeton, where she will serve as that town’s new business administrator.
An administrator with an illustrious career and top-notch credentials, including a Ph.D. in criminal justice, Bush-Baskette served in the New Jersey state Legislature, as well as serving in the gubernatorial cabinet and as commissioner of the state’s Department of Community Affairs. Bush-Baskette will be missed by many.
Bush-Baskette, who served as Hillside’s B.A. for six months, told LocalSource that she is gratified that she was able to make an impact during her time in the township. “I’ve greatly enjoyed working with the directors and police chiefs, as well as the staff, police officers, and fire department personnel,” said Bush-Baskette. “I’ve also enjoyed working with members of the council, and really enjoyed working with the residents of Hillside. Hillside is a wonderful town with great potential.”
Bush-Baskette, who began her new position in Bridgeton, said that although she wished her time in Hillside could have been longer, it was time for her to move on. “It was not the best fit, and then another opportunity opened up after that,” said Bush-Baskette. “The outcome of working in Bridgeton is a positive one, even though the reason for the decision to leave was not as positive. All of the council members and chiefs are really trying their best under difficult circumstances.”
Bush-Baskette said that she is glad that she was able to serve in Hillside and to help those with whom she worked. “I’m pleased that I was able to not only work with the directors and staff of the township, but oftentimes to be a protective buffer for them.”
According to Hillside Councilman Sip Whitaker, Bush-Baskette is a loss to the community. “She was good and always true to her word,” said Whitaker. “If I had any issues — good, bad, or indifferent — she gave a straight response, she just said it like it is.”
Whitaker said that he believes that Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson is a large part of Bush-Baskette’s decision to leave. “She was too dignified for the position,” said Whitaker. “She was a professional, and she probably said to herself, ‘I don’t need this.’ I wish she would have stayed. Those kind of people come and work with Garretson, and then they just go.”
Bush-Baskette, who formerly served as the B.A. in East Orange, is the fifth business administrator in Hillside in just 2 1/2 years — all of them working under Garretson.
Whitaker said that one former B.A. stayed for just two weeks, while others have not lasted all that much longer. According to other sources, one former business administrator lasted just one day.
Anthony Salters, chairman of the Hillside Democratic Party, told LocalSource that he is sorry to see Bush-Baskette go. “Dr. Baskette is a consummate professional,” said Salters. “She was above the pettiness of politics. We wish she was allowed to carry out her vision to a reality. The council saw her talent and gave her job security concurrent with the mayor’s term. We were really hoping she would see it through to finally get stability in the Business Administrator’s Office. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Mayor of Orange Dwayne Warren will replace Bush-Baskette as the new Business Administrator.