BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council has moved to fill vacancies on the Bridgewater-Raritan Municipal Alliance.

The council unanimously approved a resolution at its Feb. 13 meeting to make eight appointments to that particular body.

The appointments included Audrey Blumberg, William Rijksen, Gabriella Guzman, Tiffany Slowinski, Linda Stefani, Lois Fyfe, Kristen Bonczek and Paul Payne.

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Bridgewater councilman Timothy Ring, who is the liaison to the alliance, explained that vacancies had made it difficult for that body to have a quorum of members in order to hold meetings.

“It’s part of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse,” he said.

The make up of the alliance at present is supposed to consist of 12 appointees, 10 from Bridgewater and two from Raritan. Ring added that there is some flexibility in the appointments, with funds supplied by a grant from the state, provided in turn by the county, and that the current grant cycle is winding down.

Ring added that the township wants to maximize the dollars received for the alliance. He also said that new guidelines are calling for the alliance to have up to 21 appointees in the future, which would necessitate an amendment of the resolution, plus an agreement with Raritan.

“It’s really important to get the right members on board,” said Mayor Matthew Moench. “It needs active people.”

He said that, in the past, the body had been filled with township staff, and he added that dealing with opioids and anti-drugs is a critical issue, one he has championed in the past.

Prior to the vote on the resolution, council president Howard Norgalis stated that the terms of the eight new alliance appointees will be staggered, with some members serving one year, and others two or three. According to an online draft copy of the resolution, Bonczek’s term will expire on Dec. 31, 2020. The terms for Blumberg, Slowinsky and Fyfe will expire on Dec. 31, 2021, while those of Rijksen, Guzman and Stefani will expire on Dec. 31, 2022.

Council vice president Filipe Pedroso said he had received an e-mail that day that had him concerned, in that one of the potential appointees does not live in Bridgewater. Township attorney Chris Corsini said it is not a major concern, and that he does not believe it to be an issue.

Norgalis added that he had corresponded with that individual, and said he also saw no conflict.

Ring added that previous carry-overs on the alliance do not live in Bridgewater, while Moench said that boards such as the alliance are unique, and have to be filled with certain types of people.

Ring said he would like to increase the alliance’s numbers in the future, by state guidelines, and added that a youth representative will also be required.

“I envision filling 95 percent of the positions,” he said.

The council passed the measure by a 5-0 vote.