Kelly Cupit is the Township Administrator for the Township of Green Brook, New Jersey.
Hailing from Warren, New Jersey, Kelly received her BA in Communication Studies from The College of New Jersey in 1999 and her MPA from the Maxwell School in 2000.
For Kelly, there is no typical day in local government as an Administrator. The job is cyclical to some degree, but much of Kelly’s time and effort is put toward special projects, working with elected officials on policy issues, personnel matters and general management of departments and tasks. The great thing about local government is that you really have an impact on the lives of people every day.
She says, “I interned for the state while in undergrad and it just felt too ‘big.’ I love what I do because every day is NOT the same, because I learn something new every day and I get to have new experiences and work with great people.”
With the increasing demand for services as well as the need for governments of all levels to tighten the belt, local government has been at the forefront of trying new things: sharing services, innovating, and trimming without cutting. Kelly has been involved in many of these efforts over the past 13 years. For example, she has combined courts with other local towns, studied to consolidate services to the county level, changed the way the Township provides leaf pick-up, garbage, and recycling collection, and generally has figured out how to do more or the same with less staff and less money. For her, it has been a rewarding tightrope act.
“Maxwell's purposeful practical approach to the MPA program helped shape me as a professional,” Kelly says. “The fact that we wrote memos and worked on budgets in Excel had real life application; more so than heavy research and in-depth data analysis.”
Kelly says she had many great professors, including the late John Duncombe, Sean O'Keefe, Rosemary O'Leary, and Jodi Sandfort. Kelly also worked at the Campbell Institute.
“It was a fantastic experience. I am still in touch with many of the students and staff that I worked with while there,” she says.
Any advice for current students? “Join ICMA and your state association for local government professionals. Network with city managers, township administrators and elected officials in the area in which you would like to work,” she says. “Look for ‘special projects’ you can do or volunteer for that will help a local government; it will not only give you valuable experience, but it might prove your worth to the organization and lead to a job!”