BELMAR, NJ — For the first time in nearly three decades, Belmar’s mayor is a Republican, as Mark Walsifer was officially sworn in to the borough’s top elected office.

During the council’s January 5 reorganization, the GOP also took control of the four-member governing body as Patricia Wann, who won election in November, took her oath of office. And in its first action of the year, the council then appointed Thomas Carvelli to complete Walsifer’s unexpired one-year term.

They joined Republican James McCracken, who also was victorious in his election bid in November, but was sworn in later that month to fill a one-year unexpired term.

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McCracken’s nomination of the governing body’s only Democrat, Thomas Brennan —its most-senior member — as council president was unanimously approved by its members.

Addressing an overflow audience in the council chambers, Mayor Walsifer said the borough has been undergoing a “big transition” since Election Day. “We’ve been doing a ton of work since the election,” he said, adding that talks are currently under way with Wall, Spring Lake Heights and Monmouth County to explore shared services agreements.

READ MORE: Belmar GOP’s Clean Sweep on Election Day to Switch Control of Municipal Government

During his brief remarks, Walsifer also introduced Edward Kirschenbaum as the borough’s new business administrator, as well as borough attorney Jerry J. Dasti, and labor attorney/special counsel Charles E. Schlager Jr. Both are with the Forked River-based law firm of Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Koutsouris and Connors.

Following her swearing-in, Wann told the audience she was looking forward to serving the community. “I am all about Belmar. I love this town and will do my best for all of you.”

Newcomer Carvelli said he was honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Belmar, adding that as a councilman, he would make sure the town is moving in the right direction.

A Belmar resident for 11 years, Carvelli is a manager with Greenway Mortgage Funding Corp. of Middletown, with offices in Spring Lake.

Carvelli was unanimously chosen by the council after his name was among three presented by the Republican Party to serve until the end of the year  — the others being James Bean and Victoria Renner.

Walsifer also announced his council committee assignments:

  • Walsifer and Carvelli: finance, grants and personnel committee.
  • Carvelli and McCracken: beach, harbor, parks and environmental committee.
  • McCracken and Wann: planning, zoning roads, water/sewer, housing.
  • Walsifer and McCracken: public safety committee (police, fire, first aid and lifeguards).
  • Wann and Brennan: community services committee (youth services, recreation, senior citizen services, drug alliance, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance).

Appointed as directors to five departments under the direction and supervision of Mayor Walsifer as the borough’s chief executive were: chief financial officer Christine Manolio, finance; acting police chief Andrew Huisman, public safety; Robert Poff, code enforcement; Barry Trogu, recreation, and Michael Campbell, public works.

Other department and municipal appointments included: Steven Schueler as municipal prosecutor; Dennis Lavender as municipal judge; Peter Piro as public advocate; Paul Capotorto as animal house hearing officer; Albert Jardine as tax collector; Ryan Dullea as fire marshal/fire official; and Gene Cory as representative to the South Monmouth Regional Sewage Authority.

All resolutions approved by the borough council can be obtained by visiting the borough’s website at

Professional services contracts were retained with the following: borough engineer Peter Avakian of Neptune; borough bond counsel Michael Gluck of GluckWalrath of Red Bank; redevelopment counsel Jerry Dasti; public defender Robert Musto of Woodbridge; auditor Robert Allison of Holman, Frenia and Allison, Red Bank; special counsel Sean Kean of Cleary, Giacobbe, Alfieri & Jacob of Matawan.

Appointed as primary staff members to the local emergency planning committee were: Mayor Walisfer, director; Frank Cinelli, coordinator; Business Administrator Kirschenbaum, office of emergency management first deputy coordinator; and Police Capt. Tina Scott, OEM second deputy coordinator.

Appointments also were made to the planning board, zoning board of adjustment, shade tree commission, tourism commission, environmental commission, harbor commission, park and recreation commission, library board and housing authority.

Walsifer is the first Republican mayor since Maria Hernandez held the seat in the late 1980s. Since then, Democrat Kenneth Pringle served as mayor for 20 years, followed by Matthew Doherty for seven years until he exited the borough last March to become executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

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