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On weekends, Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach moonlights as a waste collector.
“When there’s a whole bunch of events going on, we don’t bring guys in to do garbage on the weekends — obviously there’s a cost to it” Kovach said. “So, I just carried a box of liners in my car and started doing it.”
Kovach said her street cleaning activities are limited to Main Street, and she said she doesn’t do it for the whole year.
Though, her ballpark figure put her out gathering trash eight months out of the year, from May to December.
“We have merchants downtown that have ice cream or coffee, and the worst thing to have is having all that stuff falling out as people are walking down that street,” Kovach said.
If she can’t make it, she’ll usually try to find someone else to take her place.
Kovach said she’s kept her street cleaning mostly secret.
“I do it usually early in the morning, because it’s usually not the cleanest thing to do,” she said. “So, I try to stay under the radar while I’m doing it.”
That hasn’t always worked.
“Someone caught a picture of me the other day because we had our big event in town and before the end of the event it was starting to overflow,” Kovach said.
That kind of hands-in approach will help Kovach win re-election this year, according to Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.
“Everyone chips in and gets the job done in New Jersey’s small towns. With fewer taxpayers and resources, that’s the way so many of our small towns can afford to thrive,” said Rasmussen. “Janice is a very well regarded mayor who gets it. It’s not about partisanship or fingerprinting, it’s about rolling up your sleeves and doing what’s best for the town.”
Rasmussen said that Kovach is “really on the ball.”
“Mayors like that tend to stick around as long as they want to.”