BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Councilmen James McCracken and Thomas Carvelli took their seats for full three-year terms during the governing body’s annual reorganization meeting on January 4.

After completing one-year unexpired terms last year, both men were elected to full terms in November’s general election, extending the Republican majority on the five-member council for another year with Mayor Mark Walsifer at its helm.

READ MORE: Belmar Voting Results in November 5 Election Now Official

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After taking their oaths of office, both men expressed their appreciation to voters for electing them to the council.

“I want to thank all of our supporters and the residents of Belmar who put their trust in me in this past election to represent them to the best of our ability,” McCracken said. “I can promise you all the decisions I make and all (my) votes are from my heart, and there will be decisions I believe will be best for our town.”

In addition to recognizing the municipal work force, McCracken also thanked residents who volunteer their time to serve on boards and committees, as well as in public safety roles. “We have our work to do on the dais, but day to day people are volunteering and giving of themselves, and putting themselves at risk in many circumstances, to serve our community,” he said.

During his inaugural year on the council, Carvelli said they have taken on many big issues and have made great progress. “I look forward to doing that for the next three years,” he added.

In his report, Mayor Walsifer acknowledged the myriad challenges his administration and the council faced in its first year. But with McCracken and Carvelli winning both council seats in November, “I’m glad to see residents have confidence in us,” Walsifer said. “We’re up here to do what’s best for Belmar.”

He specifically commended Borough Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum and Chief Financial Officer Christine Manolio for their efforts over the past year in getting the borough's administrative house in order.

While Walsifer said he is looking forward to 2020, he added, “It’s not going to be easy. We have a lot of things to clear up and straighten out left from the previous administration. But we will get through it and do the right thing.”

During the meeting, the council unanimously voted to reappoint Thomas Brennan — its most-senior member and only Democrat — as council president for another year. Councilwoman Patricia Wann, who is recuperating at home from being ill, did not attend the reorganization meeting.

Walsifer also announced his council committee assignments:

  • Walsifer and Carvelli: finance, grants, leasing and personnel committee.

  • Brennan and McCracken: beach, harbor, parks, shade tree 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).

Edward Kirschenbaum Sr. was reappointed as borough administrator, as was borough attorney Jerry J. Dasti, and labor attorney Charles E. Schlager Jr. Both are with the Forked River-based law firm of Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Koutsouris and Connors.

With the recent retirement of Police Chief Andrew Huisman, Walsifer named Police Captain Tina Scott to lead the public safety department and also reappointed the following four department directors: CFO Christine Manolio, finance; Robert Poff, code enforcement; Barry Trogu, recreation; and Michael Campbell, public works.

Other department and municipal appointments included: Sean Kean as municipal prosecutor; Peter Piro as public advocate; Paul Capotorto as animal house hearing officer; Albert Jardine as tax collector; and Ryan Dullea as fire administrator/marshal.

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 Red Bank; 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; and special counsels Sean Kean of Cleary, Giacobbe, Alfieri & Jacob of Matawan, Michael Collins of Archer Law Firm of Red Bank, and William Blaney of Blaney & Karavan of Avalon. In addition, Brown & Brown Metro of Roseland was appointed insurance broker/consultant.

Appointed as primary staff members to the local emergency planning committee were: Mayor Walsifer, director; Frank Cinelli, coordinator; Borough Administrator Kirschenbaum, office of emergency management, first deputy coordinator; and Police Detective Capt. Thomas Cox, second deputy coordinator; Robbin Kirk, third deputy coordinator; Public Works Director Michael Campbell, fourth deputy coordinator; and former Police Chief Andrew Huisman, fifth deputy coordinator.

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


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