February 02, 2008

Keywood Strategies - Angie Devanney Principal

The website reads “Navigating you to succeed”, Keywood Strategies, Berkeley Heights, NJ. Keywood Strategies has a proven record of rezoning, planning, and managing key projects by navigating the local governing body, Planning Board, Board of Adjustment or State regulatory process. Westin Hotel, The Connell Companies and Summit Medical Group are among those business interests listed as having received assistance from the principal of Keywood Strategies LLC, Angie D. Devanney.

Until recently Angela Devanney was the Township Administrator of Berkeley Heights, a position she held since 2005 upon leaving her employment with Union County Government where she served as the Administrator of the Union County Open Space and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

In an interview with “The Alternative Press”, an online newspaper for residents of Summit, Berkeley Heights and New Providence, Ms Devanney cites the personal health scares faced by her and her husband, Union County Manager George Devanney and a desire to spend more time with her young son as her reasons for resigning her Berkeley Heights post. In the article Devanney said she had already been thinking about starting her own business and declined to reveal what she would be doing next but said it would be something done on a consulting basis. She is quoted as saying “I’m going to leave the details out for now.”

Why Angie was leaving the details out is a bit puzzling but perhaps she is as confused as the rest of us as the information about her on the Keywood Strategies website’s About Us/Home page (which is just about Angie) is a bit of a stretch.

The Keywood Site Says:

Angie formed Keywood Strategies, LLC in 2001 and remains the principal.

§ Before launching her own company, Angie also served as the Union County Trust Fund Administrator acquiring over 100 acres of open space 7 years ahead of schedule. Responsible for over $130 million dollars dedicated from a special tax, she also worked closely with Green Acres and wrote the grant applications that yielded millions of dollars in acquisition grants. As a result, Union County was able to add several new parks, expand the Trailside Museum and improve the Union County Arts Center.
In November of 2000 the Union County voters approved a referendum which created the Open Space and Historic Preservation Trust Fund; the Board of Chosen Freeholders started approving the necessary ordinances and resolutions to create the fund and in May of 2001 voted on the final one which authorized the county tax board to dedicate the new tax. If Angie started her company in ’01 how could she have accomplished all of what she claims before hand if the fund wasn’t totally operational till May/June ‘01? Puzzling indeed.

§ The Star Ledger, wrote about the development boom (in Berkeley Heights) in a July 2007 article, an effort spearheaded by Mrs. Devanney through intensive zoning changes and economic development planning.

Equally puzzling – Ms Devanney started her employ with Berkeley Heights in 2005, and left at the end of 2007, during her tenure the Summit Med Group expanded, Connell Companies is expanding and hotels are coming to town. It should be pointed out that these are the same companies that she touts on her website as business references and states that she assisted, but this begs the question what side of the fence was she actually working on and who benefited from and financially compensated her. Was there a conflict here at any time?
More from the website:
Development Planning and Zoning

Keywood Strategies has a proven record of rezoning, planning and managing key projects by navigating the local governing body, Planning Board, Board of Adjustment or State regulatory process. Angie has successfully assisted:
Lifetime Fitness
Westin Hotel
The Connell Company
Hilton Extended Stay Hotel
Summit Medical Group
Berkeley Aquatics Training Facility
Berkeley Heights' Imminent Boom
Projects to getunder way soon
Commercial buildings likely will add estimated $1.5M in revenue

And finally: How disappointing that Mrs. Devanney couldn’t find it in her heart to be honest with the Alternative Press’ reporter when asked what she would be doing upon leaving the Berkeley Heights Business Administrator’s job. Instead she says she has been thinking about starting her own business. Doesn’t this make you wonder what else has been going on behind the scenes.