This is a momentous year for Chatham Borough. With three open positions and no incumbents running, residents are faced with important decisions to make in November’s election.
For those unfamiliar with our local government structure, the Borough is governed by a Mayor and six Council members. Mayor Bruce Harris and Council Members Vicki Fife and Jim Collander are stepping down – and they will be greatly missed. In my nine months on the Council I have come to appreciate Vicki and Jim’s hard work, dedication, and thoughtful decision-making. Bruce Harris does an extraordinary job leading the Council and the Borough as a whole and making it seem easy, never losing his cool and keeping track of numerous moving parts. He deserves great credit for the fact that most Council votes are unanimous and decisions are made with little discord.
Who fills these large shoes will have a major impact on how we operate in the coming years, years when we face changing demographics, potential new developments, an ever-worsening traffic problem, and a number of budget challenges.
For Council, we would be incredibly lucky to have Irene Treloar and Karen Koronkiewicz on board. Karen has a highly successful 20-year business career with Wyeth, Pfizer and Nestle, and is experienced at managing budgets and negotiating contracts. Irene is an attorney serving as Senior Corporate Counsel at Bloomberg L.P. Both of them are long term residents who will bring important knowledge and skills, especially as we negotiate two unprecedented redevelopments with large, well-funded businesses. In addition to their business and legal acumen, both Irene and Karen are great listeners, collaborators, and truly care about protecting Chatham’s wonderful charm, walkability, and sense of community.
For mayor, Borough Council member Thad Kobylarz is indisputably qualified, with a doctorate from Columbia University, a law degree from Oxford University, and degrees in law and business from the University of Pennsylvania. More than that, Thad has the ability to develop and execute on a vision for the community, while listening to and taking input from a broad array of residents of all ages, backgrounds, and political leanings. In his nearly two years on Borough council, he has acted affirmatively to address resident concerns, leading the establishment of both the Undergrounding Advisory Committee to look at options for burying power lines and the Economic Development Advisory Committee to promote a more vibrant downtown and a more diverse tax base. He also chairs the critical Budget and Finance committee and is putting in place important measures to ensure the Borough’s long term fiscal health.
Being a member of the Chatham Borough Council is a great honor and a weighty responsibility. We – volunteers and residents – oversee and make huge decisions about infrastructure, development, public safety, and taxes. We must protect our community’s essential character, keep taxes to a minimum, deliver exceptional services, and keep pace with a changing world. I am confident that this exceptional team can help us do so.
Chatham Borough Council member