BATH TWP.: Vito Sinopoli is looking forward to what could be called his ďfourth career,Ē particularly since his three other careers (attorney, businessman and police officer) have led him to this position as well as prepared him for it.
While there are still details to be worked out, including the timeline for his taking the position and the employment contract, Sinopoli was chosen by the Bath Township Board of Trustees to become Bathís next administrator on Oct. 23.
Sinopoli was essentially the last finalist standing in a process that started back in July and netted 33 local, regional and statewide applicants.† Among those applicants were the other two finalists: Bill Snow, the interim administrator, and Sharon Troike, Bathís fiscal officer.
We had the chance to talk with Sinopoli and get his perspective on the position of Bath Township Administrator.
Q: Why did you want this job?
A: I felt that this was the culmination of my police experience, my experience as a business owner and my legal experience because I could join all those different experiences and the attributes I have from those experiences together as administrator.† Having grown up in this community and having worked for 27 years as a police officer here, I have had the chance to meet so many wonderful people, residents and business owners, so this is the next step in fulfilling my goal to represent the community.
Q: What special talents and abilities will you bring to the administratorís position?
A: I think the administrator serves as the face of the community, of the township. For that reason, that person is really charged with being the first stop for issues, community issues, that people are concerned with. One of the best skills I have is an understanding of people and knowing how to solve their problems. Much of that has been honed through my legal and law enforcement experiences and my work in the township and with the people of Bath, so I understand their expectations. I want to maintain the identity of the community and provide to the residents of the township the very best we can.†
Q: Will growing up in Bath and working in Bath as a police officer put added pressure on you?
A: Not at all. I think it gives me a certain comfort level and having worked with the people of the community, I think they are comfortable with me.† Iíve worked with people through good times and in very bad, very stressful situations.† I have had to maintain decorum no matter what the circumstances, and I think that is a real strength that I bring to the table.
Q: Have your careers, in law, law enforcement, and in construction, prepared you for this?
A: They really have. When, I guess it was 12 years ago, when the administratorís position was created, I had an interest then, but the timing wasnít right. I have learned so much more and I bring so much more to that table than I could have then. All of the skills I have will really serve the township very well.
Q: What will it be like to move from the police department to administration?† Will your fellow officers, your peers in the department, have any issues with your new role?
A: I think that for the most part, people respect the fact that I have always been very objective. I looked at a situation based on the facts; I made a decision based on the facts; and I tried to leave any personal relationship aside. The township is a business, and preserving its resources is my first and foremost consideration. I have to look at things objectively when and if a situation presents itself, and that is the manner in which I conduct myself.
Q: How steep will your learning curve be and how long do you think it will take you to get up to speed?
A: It wonít take very long. My experience as a business owner, both as an attorney and in construction, exposed me to many of the things that I will be involved in, from preparing a budget to negotiating contracts. Those are all skills and experiences I have, so I am thinking that the learning curve will be relatively short
Q: Is there a timeline in place for you to move from the police department to administration?
A: We are trying to make the transition as quick and efficient as possible. As soon as next week, I may be coming in part time and dividing my time between administration and the police department and then gradually transition completely to administration.†
Q: What do you hope to bring to the administratorís role?
A: Because I view the township as a business, my background as a business owner will be important. There are many challenges ahead, what with the reduction in state funding through local government funds and through the decrease in property values, although we have not been hit as hard as other communities. We are going to need strong leadership from our trustees and from the administration to weather the storm. The thing that has impressed me the most about Bath is that it has still retained its identity, and that is very attractive and important to our residents.† I want to do my best to try to preserve that identity. I want the people of Bath to know that the trustees and the administration will be working for their, the residents, best interests, and that we will do everything we can to provide the services the community expects and to continue to make this a community that the residents can be very proud of.