TOMS RIVER – Business administrator Paul Shives retired from public service on Jan. 12 after 41 years in public service.
Previously, Shives worked as the administrator in Stafford and Wall townships. He came to Toms River in 2009.
“I’m blessed to have had the career I’ve had,” he said.
Granted, it came with a lot of challenges, the biggest one being when Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. He said he’ll never forget taking a ride over to the barrier island the next day. The town had to design a program to bus people over to their properties because they were not allowed in the area without police.
“For 75 percent of the population, Sandy was over for them when the power came back on,” he said. Ortley Beach and the North Beaches are still feeling a lot of the effects, and the mainland properties that overlook the Barnegat Bay were also significantly affected.
He is retiring from the public sector, although he hinted that his career isn’t over yet.
Shives had taken over for Robert Chankalian, Sr., after he had passed away from cancer. A search committee assisted by the League of Municipalities found Shives, who was working as the business administrator in Stafford, Mayor Thomas Kelaher said.
“It’s been a great 9 years. If I could chain him to the desk, I would,” he said. “He’s been doing this for 41 years. You don’t need Google; you just open the door and ask him a question.
“He and I worked so closely for almost 10 years,” he said. “He’s the absolute best administrator in the state of New Jersey as far as I’m concerned.”
The Township Council commended him for his service, and gave him a painting of Town Hall, as a departing council member would receive.
A few months back, Shives had approached the mayor and indicated he was considering retiring.
He will be replaced by Donald Guardian, the former mayor of Atlantic City. Guardian has already sat in on the Jan. 2 re-organization meeting.
When asked if Shives has any advice for his replacement, he repeated a quote that has been attributed to Art Rooney Sr., founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers: “Treat everyone the same, give them the benefit of the doubt. But never let anyone mistake kindness for weakness.”
It’s a very public job, so the person who has this position needs to have broad shoulders, thick skin, and patience, he said.
Shives had glowing words for the mayor as well, considering him a “tremendous influence” on him.
“I can’t think of a better place to end 41 years than as an administrator here,” he said.