November 17, 2021

Stockton and Grosser Promoted in Restructure of Municipal Staff

By Anne Levin

Two key members of Princeton’s municipal staff have been promoted to newly created positions. Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton is now deputy administrator for infrastructure and operations, and Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser’s new title is deputy administrator for health and community services, according to information released Tuesday.

Stockton will now oversee the Public Works and Engineering departments, as well as the municipal arborist and newly-hired open space manager. Grosser is now in charge of the recently combined Health and Human Services departments, as well as the Recreation Department. The promotions are the result of a year-long analysis of how the municipal staff is structured, begun in the Personnel Committee with previous Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield, and continued with Bernard Hvozdovic, who took over the post last spring.

“These promotions recognize Deanna Stockton and Jeff Grosser’s many years of outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the municipality,” Hvozdovic said in a press release. “They have earned the respect, trust, and confidence of their colleagues, the governing body, and the many residents who benefit daily from their commitment to Princeton. This restructuring will ensure that the municipality functions in a more efficient and cost-effective manner as well as being even more responsive to community needs and priorities.”

Hvozdovic is supervisor to Stockton and Grosser. He also directly oversees the Princeton Police Department, the Municipal Court, and the Clerk’s Office, as well as Emergency Services, Finance, Information Services, and Community Development, which includes Planning and Historic Preservation.

Stockton has been municipal engineer since 2016. Prior to that, she was the assistant engineer, and a design engineer with Princeton Township before consolidation. She has worked for Princeton for more than 15 years, overseeing various design and construction projects ranging from the Stony Brook Bicycle and Pedestrian bridges to the reconstruction of Community Park Pool and renovation of Mary Moss Playground.

“I am excited to lead the combined organization and the great teams within that are committed to making the local government as efficient as possible so that the Princeton residents can feel good about the services they receive,” Stockton said. “Specific to my expanded responsibilities for the combined Infrastructure and Operations Department, we are bringing together Engineering, Public Works, Parking, Fleet, Sewer Operations, and Open Space in order to better maintain and improve Princeton’s public assets by more efficiently planning and executing improvements of roadway, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, and public building infrastructure.  In the near term and as a result of this year’s record rainfall events, we will be focusing on our storm sewer system and our open spaces, and their resiliency against the more frequent and erratic weather events.”

Grosser, familiar to local residents from his regular reports on the trajectory of COVID-19, currently oversees the Health Department and Bureau of Rental Inspection for the municipality. As director of health, he is responsible for the administration of public health practice standards in Princeton. He served as both assistant administrator and health officer from 2018 to 2020. During his tenure, the Princeton Health Department expanded free health care for uninsured Princeton children to cover newborns through high school age.

“I’ve devoted most of my educational and professional career to improving community health,” said Grosser. “Through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all witnessed the importance of intersectoral and intergovernmental collaboration. The new structure of the Department of Health and Community Services intends to coordinate new processes for advancing shared goals of making Princeton a healthier place to be. Improving the health of a community goes well beyond educating residents to make better individual choices. The need for ambitious cross-sectoral partnerships amongst departments will aim to improve health equity while reducing persistent health inequalities. The most successful outcomes occur when social determinants of health, and their inherit disparities, are tackled in a in localized, community-based integrated process. The newly organized department is the first step in creating a foundation for this action.”