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Meet The Leaders - Summit City Administrator Christopher Cotter

Greg Elliott

Monday, November 18, 2013 • 8:15pm

Editor's note:  This continues the Meet The Leaders profile series on the Summit Alternative Press.  The objective is to provide our readers the opportunity to hear from Summit's leaders in government, public safety, commerce and other areas, regarding Summit's present and future outlook, their background and what they enjoy doing in their private life.  In order to keep the format consistent, The Alternative Press presents each individual with the same five questions.  We publish their answers unedited.

Today - City of Summit City Administrator Christopher J. Cotter

Background / Biography

Christopher Cotter is the City Administrator for the City of Summit, a position he has held since 2005.  He is responsible for a workforce of 200+ fulltime employees, and an operating budget of $47 million dollars.  In addition, he serves as the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

Previously he has held positions as Director of Community Services, and served as a career member of the Summit Fire Department for 28 years.  He retired in 2003 as Fire Director and Chief of Department, a position he held for 10 years.  His academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and a Masters in Administrative Science. He is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officers Program at the National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, MD.

He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and is a member of the Advisory Board of Overlook Medical Center.  He and his wife Karen reside in Summit and are the parents of three adult children.

What inspired you to pursue a role in City government?

Inspiration to pursue a role in local government was based on early volunteer work with the local first aid squad.  It was a valuable opportunity to learn about a variety of aspects and needs within the community and the potential to make a meaningful contribution.  

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing Summit today?

Summit is a thriving community that experiences a tension between maintaining its small town character while acknowledging that it is a regional hub for the area.  Balancing development projects to assure continued vibrancy and retaining the small town character forms a basis for the City’s planning considerations.  There are always more demands on local government than there are available resources.  The challenge is to allocate those resources in ways that continue to make the community so desirable while limiting the cost to the taxpayers. 

What are the top priorities on your "to do list" as City Administrator?

Each year the governing body establishes goals in connection with the annual operating budget. The current goals: Fiscal Responsibility; Downtown Development; Safety; Technology & Communication; and Infrastructure create the basis of my “to do” list.     

When you are not being the City Administrator, what do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time in enjoy travel and outdoor activities….running, fishing, swimming, biking and skiing. 

Five words that describe Summit are...

Vibrant; Diverse; Generous; Engaged; Home


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