SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Howard Levison wrapped up his 12 years on the South Orange Board of Trustees at its April 22 meeting, when he resigned from his seat on the board to take a part-time position with the South Orange Water Utility. Levison’s term on the BOT was set to expire after three new members are elected May 14, and timing did not allow Levison to complete his term. He was not running for re-election.
In a phone interview with the News-Record on May 8, Levison said he will be managing the engineers who work for the utility and working with New Jersey American Water, South Orange’s provider. He helped create the water utility, which was established after executives from the East Orange Water Commission were indicted for allegedly conspiring to hide increased levels of tetrachloroethylene in the water distributed to South Orange and surrounding towns.
“This had been discussed and planned for,” Levison said. “I had been a trustee and was involved in creating the utility, so since I wasn’t planning on running again I thought this was a thing I could do.”
The job was made public and other candidates interviewed for the position as well. Levison’s seat on the BOT won’t be filled before a new trustee is elected because the law does not require a replacement trustee to finish the term if the seat holder leaves within six months of the term ending.
Moving forward, Levison, who has been an engineer for 40 years, said he plans to improve the infrastructure of South Orange’s water system.
“I plan to bring the infrastructure up to a standard we haven’t had in years,” he said. “East Orange hadn’t been maintaining it, so we’re trying to correct that. We’re upgrading pieces and making sure the company doesn’t have a problem.”