GLEN ROCK, NJ — Two democrats have announced their candidacy for the fall election while republicans have yet to announce.
Glen Rock Council President Mary Barchetto, who was elected in 2017, is running for re-election this year. Democratic council member Caroline Unzaga will not be seeking re-election, but 12-year Glen Rock resident Jill Orlich will be joining Barchetto on the campaign trail.
Glen Rock's governing body consists of a mayor and six council members elected at large, according to the borough's official website. Two council members are elected each year for three-year terms and the mayor is elected for four years. The mayor is the chief executive officer for the borough.
The council is currently comprised of all democrats. The last two republicans to serve on the council were Mike O’Hagan, who did not run for re-election in 2019. He was a councilman for 16 years. Democrats Teresa Gilbreath and Rob Dill defeated republicans Michelle Torpey and Eric Schlett.
The state primary is scheduled for June 8, but without competition within each party, and no republicans to challenge, Barchetto and Orlich will likely be sworn into office in January 2022.
“I look forward to a positive campaign listening to the needs of all Glen Rockers as we emerge from these difficult times and plan for our town’s bright future,” Barchetto said in press release several weeks ago.
In addition to being selected to serve as council president in 2021, Barchetto is head of public safety, chair of community affairs, Senior Advisory liaison, and a member of the finance committee. She has spearheaded initiatives like the Restart Glen Rock campaign to reopen downtown and create outdoor eating areas during COVID-19, the Seniors newsletters, and a number of family programs including the Summer Movie Sleepover and the Halloween Scavenger Hunt.
Barchetto said the key thing she learned serving as a council member over the past three-plus years comes down to balancing priorities with the future.
“[I learned] how nuanced each decision we make on Council can be and how carefully they need to be researched and considered. We are elected to serve our community and make policy based on what will meet the needs of the entire community as best we can,” she said. “It is a fine balance making decisions that are fiscally and socially responsible, maintaining the vision of our town outlined in our Master Plan and keeping an eye on future changes that may affect our town.”
And how different is the job than Barchetto originally thought?
“I expected being a council member to be a lot of work. It's a responsibility I do not take lightly. What I was happily surprised by is how gratifying the work is and how much I would enjoy getting to know so many more of our residents through working and interacting with them,” she said. “While there can be challenging interactions, it has been a real pleasure seeing how much people care about this town, and it inspires me to work harder in my role as a public official.”
Jill Orlich is making her first run for council.
“Glen Rock is a great town that has been home to me and my family for the last twelve years. It’s important to me to do as much as I can to contribute to this community. I want to ensure that Glen Rock remains a great place to live for families, seniors and all the other people who live here,” she said.
Orlich has served several terms on the Byrd School HSA board. During her time on the board, according to a press release, “she increased fundraising, preserved treasured traditions, and worked on initiatives to ensure that Byrd school would continue to be a thriving community and safe space for children.”
“I am so excited for the opportunity to serve on the Borough Council! My family and I have lived in Glen Rock for 12 years and know what a special town this is. I look forward to giving back to the community that has given so much to me, and to working hard to face the challenges that lie ahead as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis and come back better than ever.”
Unzaga had kind words for the both candidates.
“Though I won’t be seeking re-election, I fully endorse council president Mary Barchetto and her running mate, Jill Orlich,” Unzaga said. “Their energy, intelligence and imagination is what Glen Rock needs to continue moving forward together.”
Glen Republicans did not immediately return attempts to contact them.