Livingston Town Council Welcomes New Member Kon Bhutani, Honors Retiring Police Captain John Drand

Livingston Town Council’s latest meeting was marked by the historic appointment of Kon Bhutani as the first Asian-American Indian-American council member, and a notable tribute to retiring Police Captain John Drand after 34 years of service. The session also deliberated on amendments to township codes, the appointment of Bhutani, and plans for evaluating township pool options.

The council chamber was filled with a sense of gratitude as members and residents honored the retirement of Police Captain John Drand. His 34 years of service were lauded, with Mayor Alfred M. Anthony and the Township Council recognizing his contributions, particularly his leadership during critical events like the Tree of Life synagogue attack. Police Chief Shawn R. Klein highlighted Captain Drand’s commitment, recalling his proactive efforts to check on elderly residents during off-duty hours and his responsiveness during natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida. Council members shared personal anecdotes, reflecting on Drand’s kindness and professionalism. Barry R. Lewis, Jr. praised Drand for his leadership and dedication, while Deputy Mayor Edward Meinhardt and other council members extended their wishes for his retirement.

Another moment at the meeting was the appointment of Kon Bhutani as a new council member. Michael M. Vieira extolled Bhutani’s community involvement, and Barry Lewis, Jr. commended his diverse contributions to the township. Edward Meinhardt expressed enthusiasm about Bhutani’s future work with the council. The resolution to appoint Bhutani was unanimously approved following a nomination process that included a brief debate and clarification of procedures.

The swearing-in ceremony for Bhutani was a highlight, with the new council member delivering a speech thanking Mayor Anthony, Deputy Mayor Meinhardt, council members Shawn R. Klein and Michael M. Vieira, and Chairwoman Pat Seol. Bhutani’s acknowledgment of his historic appointment as the first Asian-American Indian-American council member was met with an outpouring of support from the public. Speakers from the community, including Raj Peri and Venita Cana, lauded the significance of Bhutani’s role in promoting inclusivity and representation.

The council also tackled legislative matters, debating amendments to the township code. One amendment discussed was the introduction of stronger wire mesh chain link fences to mitigate the impact of deer on properties. Another ordinance pertained to the appropriation of funds for capital improvements, including new fire apparatus for the fire department, and road and engineering projects. The council consented to the Northeast Water Quality Management plan Amendment and authorized emergency appropriations. However, a resolution concerning a contract award for services was set aside for further discussion.

In the realm of community and recreational services, the council addressed the need for evaluating long-term solutions for the township’s pool situation. Mayor Anthony and Deputy Mayor Klein were acknowledged for their involvement in the pool committee. The meeting closed with no public comments during the designated portion, and the council moved into a closed session to discuss contract negotiations, tax appeal updates, litigation, and affordable housing.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Alfred M. Anthony
City Council Officials:
Shawn R. Klein, Edward Meinhardt, Michael M. Vieira, Barry R. Lewis, Jr. (Township Manager)

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