To the Editor:

In deciding who I would want to see taking the reins of our Chatham Borough government, I have an easy choice: I wholeheartedly endorse Thad Kobylarz for Mayor, and Irene Treloar and Karen Koronkiewicz for Council.  We have the great fortune to have three truly outstanding candidates running in Kobylarz, Treloar and Koronkiewicz, which makes my decision clear-cut.

No matter your relevant “experience”, there is a great learning curve in serving on the Borough Council and in serving as Mayor.  Right now we have an excellent mix of veteran and newer Council Members serving in Chatham Borough.  The institutional knowledge and wisdom of our outgoing elected officials, Victoria Fife, Jim Collander and Mayor Bruce Harris, has been invaluable to the freshmen and sophomore members of the Council. We are fortunate as a town to have had their leadership since the early 2000’s.  Filling their positions with dedicated and qualified volunteers (we are elected, but volunteers, nonetheless!) is critical to the success of the Borough.

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The Council needs a broad range of skill sets in order to function effectively. With three incumbents stepping down it is important to look at the candidates in these terms. Irene Treloar is the only practicing attorney running with contract negotiating experience.  Karen is an accomplished business person with experience managing budgets and negotiating the business terms of contracts. Thad has unmatched academic, finance, and entrepreneurial qualifications.  Beyond that, they are terrific people, have impeccable character and are tireless workers.  Their preparation, thoughtfulness and knowledge of Borough affairs was on full display during the Candidates’ Forum.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you taking a few minutes to watch by visiting www.chathamborough.org and clicking the link for the Forum on the home page.  I have had the privilege to get to know all three candidates over the last several years and I am thrilled for our town that they are seeking their respective offices. 

Prior to seeking elected office each of them stepped up to volunteer on our Borough boards and commissions and each is active in the community.  As candidates for Borough Council, Irene and Karen have already been listening to residents’ concerns and have met with Department heads in Borough Hall to further educate themselves on the pressing issues of the Borough. Along with Thad, they recently did a “listening tour” of Downtown Chatham, where they spoke with business owners and shared ideas for economic development.  Their practice of listening and broadening their already impressive skill set will only grow once they are elected.  After being elected to the Chatham Borough Council in 2017, Thad hit the ground running, earning himself the reputation as someone with great ideas who gets things done.  His economic initiatives, compassion, hard work and vision have been well documented and are precisely what we need as mayor.  Just as important, he has the temperament as a calm negotiator and consensus builder to be effective in this office.  His goal is to lift up those around him and do his utmost to bring the best out of everyone, inside and outside of Borough Hall, for the betterment of our community.  A mayor’s personality and how a mayor comports him or herself reflects on their town.  You can be sure we will have no better representative than Thad Kobylarz as Mayor.

As I have learned over the past 10 months, this “job” is not easy, but it is rewarding, and one’s actions (or inaction) in office can have a great impact on our town.  Therefore, choosing the right elected officials to represent Chatham is of vital importance. The decisions before Borough Council members and our Mayor may not always be straightforward, but your choice in this election is:  vote for “Team Chatham”— Thad Kobylarz, Irene Treloar and Karen Koronkiewicz on November 5! 

Carolyn Dempsey
Member, Chatham Borough Council