BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The mayor and Township Council welcomed in the New Year, as well as named new council president and swore in Councilman Ed Delia at the annual reorganization meeting Wednesday in the meeting room of the Town Hall.
Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley was unanimously selected to take over the role of council president and Councilman Craig Pastore will continue as council vice-president. Kinglsey replaces former president Kevin Hall, who was appointed to the Planning Board for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2014.
"I said yes to the presidency really because of the positive steps and the changes happening in Berkeley Heights in the last year," said Kingsley. "We are now well suited, we have a strong administrator and strong CFO and excellent department heads across the board, which makes it easy for me to step in to be the council president."
Delia, with his father by his side, was sworn in for his second three-year term by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R). Delia and Tom Pirone won the re-election defeating Democrat Stephen Yellin back in November. Pirone will be sworn in prior to the next council meeting.
The council went through the list of resolutions that outlines the various professional appointments for the year that included the appointment of Thomas Delia as Chief of the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Department.
Mayor Bruno addressed the state of the township. Click here for complete statement. Each council member spoke briefly about their thoughts and ideas for the New Year.
Delia thanked everyone for giving him the opportunity to serve the town for the last three years and the next three years. "I especially want to thank all the people that volunteer for the town. Whether they are in a department or on a committee. There are a lot of people that donate a lot time to the town and I appreciate everything that they have done."
Pastore thanked Charlie Pratt for his work on the Communications Committee and his volunteer work with the website set-up.
"I look forward to this year, 2014, there are some exciting initiatives in this town," said Councilman Robert Woodruff. "The 'potential' land-swap which is one of the most important things that we are considering."
Woodruff assured everyone that there are multiple components in order for this to successfully come off, "not the least of which is dollars and sense. We are most attuned to this issue, we are looking at this extremely carefully. We hope to report on a fuller basis (half-way through the year) as to circumstances and concerns where they are going," said Woodruff. "We, as a council, have always preached, we have a greater obligations to Berkeley Heights on moving forward. We have a greater obligation to five,10, 15, 20 years down the road, as we address the finances and the needs. We have done a good job with the capital plan. This can only be done with the continuing effort of volunteers in town. People have always stepped up, this needs to continue and we encourage this. We will do what is in the best interest of the town, on a continuing on-going basis."
"2013 was an exciting year and I feel very optimistic for 2014," Hall said. "I would like to congratulate Bob [Bocchino] on his reappointment as town engineer. We've had major issues and initiatives, and under his leadership, the engineering department and DPW have made a meaningful constructive contribution to that. I look forward to working with them in the future."
Pastore commended Township Administrator Linda Cavanaugh for the growth in the council's relationship with the engineering department. With the addition of engineering staff, Pastore looks forward to continuing the relationship with the engineering department and focus on the building office.
Kingsley agreed, "I am very interested in what is happening with the planning and building office. The Beautification Committee is working on setting standards for downtown and they will make a continual emphasis on that going forward this year. It is a very interesting and challenging time."