Karen R. Boylan has been appointed to serve as the Secaucus municipal court judge for a three year term that begins Sept. 1. Boylan, who was appointed by the mayor and Town Council at their July 24 meeting, had been serving as the local prosecutor.
“I find it is an incredible privilege and honor to be given the opportunity to serve as a municipal court judge and am grateful to the mayor and council for the opportunity,” said Boylan. “I promise I will serve the town well.”
Boylan, 43, was appointed to serve as Secaucus prosecutor when Mayor Michael Gonnelli took office in 2010.
Boylan has served 13 years as a county prosecutor in the Hudson County Prosecutors Office.
A resident of 14 years, Boylan grew up in Jersey City and received her law degree from Rutgers University along with a master’s degree in public policy.
“I always had in interest in fairness and justice,” said Boylan. “I grew up in Jersey City and it was something I felt strongly about.”
“We felt strongly that it was time for a change in the court.”– Michael Gonnelli
Boylan is the second woman to ever serve as judge in Secaucus and takes the place of Judge Kathleen Walrod. Walrod was reappointed in a nearly split vote in 2009 when former Mayor Richard Steffens stepped in to serve out former mayor Dennis Elwell’s term after he was arrested for corruption. Walrod had served as judge since 1997.
Last year The Reporter wrote about a disabled woman who paid a $250 penalty plus court fees because she apparently parked in a handicapped access area of the Walmart parking lot, but did not realize it wasn’t meant for her. She said her resulting ordeal in the municipal court before Walrod was “unjust” and “inhumane” for someone who lives with a disability.
“We felt strongly that it was time for a change in the court,” said Gonnelli. “I wish Judge Walrod all the luck in the world.”
New police officers sworn in
At the same meeting the mayor and council expanded the police force, which has had a number of retirements in the past two years. Leonardo Minervini and Alex Witrock were sworn in to serve as probationary police officers effective July 25 for an annual salary of $35,000. The officers start training next month and will most likely be out on the streets in six months. At the start of the year the town brought on five additional officers.
“I know you will be a welcome addition to the force,” said Gonnelli during the ceremony.
“Good luck in the academy.”
The municipality has worked to increase the number of officers from 53 to 62 and has also tackled structure and criteria for promotions. Earlier in the year the town eliminated the position of chief of detectives. At last week’s meeting the mayor and council introduced an ordinance to amend the procedures for promotion. This measure comes after a loss of top-level officers due to the 11 recent retirements where all but one of the officers served as superiors.
“We need more sergeants,” said Gonnelli.
The mayor and council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss personnel matters, including the criteria for promoting an officer such as the written and oral exam, length of service, attendance, disciplinary history, and special consideration for veterans among others.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.