HILLSIDE, NJ — Hillside has a new business administrator, and several township officials are hopeful that this one might be a keeper.
Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson has appointed attorney Raymond Hamlin, of the law offices of Hunt, Hamlin, & Ridley, as Hillside’s seventh B.A., all serving under Garretson’s administration.
Hamlin succeeds city of Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren, who is currently serving as Hillside’s Urban Enterprise Zone coordinator.
Prior to Warren, Stephanie Bush-Baskette served as the township’s business administrator, opting out after six months.
Although Warren’s appointment was criticized heavily by township officials and residents alike, Hamlin seems to be a welcome appointment to some.
Hamlin, who was born and raised in Long Branch, graduated from Rutgers law school in 1990, becoming an associate at the law firm of Ashley and Charles, in Newark, as well as counsel for the Orange Board of Education, where he served from 1991 to 1995.
Hamlin is a founding partner at the law firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley, where his main areas of practice are education, criminal, civil rights and labor law.
Some of the highlights of his legal career include representation of former New York D.J., Wendy Williams, host of the Wendy Williams Show on Fox TV, in her federal lawsuit against HOT 97 radio station.
Hamlin also represented Terrance Everett, a young man accused of killing Orange Police Officer Joyce Carnegie. Hamlin, along with his partners, was able to gain Everett’s freedom from incarceration and his complete exoneration after he had been formally charged with the murder.
Hamlin and his partners have fought several high-profile civil rights cases, appearing on several TV, radio and media outlets.
Hamlin has appeared as a legal expert on several television stations during high-profile cases, including the O.J. Simpson trial and the Amadou Diallo case. He has also appeared as a legal analyst on Power 99 Radio station in Philadelphia, and has been featured in Fortune Magazine.
He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and a former member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Ethics Committee.
Hamlin told LocalSource that his priority as Hillside’s new B.A. is to help the township.
“What is most important is that I’ll be able to help the township,” Hamlin said in a phone call. “I certainly want to assist everyone in order to help make Hillside the wonderful place they want it to be.”
Hamlin said that he looks forward to bringing his years of experience to the township.
“I want to bring in my experience in a positive way to Hillside,” Hamlin said.
“Residents deserve and expect that. As long as I can be helpful and bring things to fruition in a positive way, then I’ll be here. If I am no longer helpful, then I will not be involved. I want to work with everyone and to grow, and to assist Hillside in its growth, as well. I’m trying to navigate my way through the town.”
Hamlin said that he hopes that everyone will put any personal agendas aside and simply work for the good of the township and its residents.
“As a litigator by profession, I often see mountains of problems,” Hamlin said. “I hope to get folks to realize that our personal agendas are not important, but what’s best for the town and for the children in the town. I am not going to get involved in negativity or personality disputes. We have to get through that and work toward a common goal.”
Garretson told LocalSource she is confident that Hamlin will be an asset to the township.
“True to form, and my ability to tap talent in Hillside, I have appointed another highly qualified professional to serve Hillside as the business administrator,” Garretson said in an email. “I look forward to the council’s confirmation and I am hopeful that Ray Hamlin’s 25 years experience as a legal and government professional and his advocacy to take corrective action with respect to personnel and operational issues will be a wonderful addition to my administration. We look forward to his leadership and expertise.”
Hillside Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Salters praised the appointment.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Salters told LocalSource in an email. “Hamlin is a great selection. He brings the professionalism, time commitment and temperament we need for a business administrator to be successful in Hillside. I finally feel that issues, such as street paving, parking permits, budgetary, municipal court and employee matters, which slowed down to a halt within this administration for months, will now move to completion or a resolution if he is allowed to just do his job. He is an excellent, nonpartisan facilitator for the concerns of the mayor, council, employees and residents.”
Hillside Councilman Sip Whitaker also lauded the selection of Hamlin.
“Hamlin is very good and extremely knowledgeable,” Whitaker told LocalSource in a phone call. “He’s very articulate and he knows his business.”
Hamlin, who calls himself a “straight-shooter,” said that he believes that everyone wants to see Hillside succeed.
“Everyone wants to see good things for Hillside, and if they don’t, then they shouldn’t be here,” Hamlin said. “I’m a straight-shooter. I try not to suggest things that I am not willing to accept for myself. I like to be in the trenches. Hopefully, folks will be open to suggestions, not your way or my way. We have to find common ground. We have to give up personal desires for a larger, common good.”