DENVILLE, NJ -- The mantle of council president has been passed. During the reorganization meeting on January 1, Councilman Douglas Gabel stepped down from this position, while newly-reelected Councilman John Murphy was voted unanimously as council president.

“It has been an honor to serve Denville in this way,” said Councilman Gabel.

“Township Council President facilitates all township council meetings and drives the agenda for the township. On many topics, the council has been in common agreement on the direction we have taken for the township. There have been some topics where township council members have had differing opinions, and we have had to debate those. Facilitating debate to get to the best solutions for Denville is a key responsibility for the council president.”

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“I have confidence that the next council president would continue the tradition of leadership and guide the discussion and debate on key issues and topics facing our community. We have difficult issues; affordable housing, fiscally sound budgeting, debt reduction, flood mitigation, maintaining a vibrant downtown, just to name a few. I have confidence that Council President Murphy will provide superior leadership as we navigate these issues and challenges.”

Councilman Gabel has been a resident of Denville for 36 years. He works as an information technology and quality assurance professional, and an Appalachia Service Project leader and volunteer for 25 years (of the home repair ministry). He is further active as a church member and volunteer, as well as active in Boy Scouts of America as a boy scout, leader, merit badge counselor, district and executive board member for more than 50 years.

Now as a regular council member, Gabel has a number of projects, including giving guidance to the newest council members (Angela Cote and Harry Fahrer); engaging with liaison committee appointments; providing a voice of experience in matters of budgeting, policy and planning Denville’s future; and listening to residents’ concerns about recycling, affordable housing and taxes.

Council President Murphy was eager to begin his term as a new leader of the governing body.

“I feel very humbled and honored that my fellow council members have elected me to this position,” said Murphy.

Originally born in Scotland, and emigrated as a young boy, Murphy was raised in Morristown and became a citizen in 1972. He has attended Morristown High School, the County College of Morris and Trenton State College, where he earned a degree in accounting. He has been married to Stacey for the past 32 years and has a daughter Christina. He worked more than 30 years in the finance field, retiring after 23 years with a fortune 400 medical device manufacturer. For now, he has his eyes set on improving his community.

“Denville has some challenges ahead, which I would like to be a part of helping to resolve,” said Murphy.

“Every year, we are challenged to do more with less as it relates to the township’s portion of the budget and tax levy. It is always a delicate balance between controlling costs and maintaining services all while living within a two percent cap, I am determined to keep any tax increases minimal to the taxpayers in Denville. Another challenge on our horizon is meeting a court imposed settlement on our affordable housing obligation. The legislators that we send to Trenton have ignored their responsibilities for too long and now we find ourselves at the mercy of the courts which in my opinion is unfairly swayed by a powerful developers lobby. Additionally, we are constantly working on flood mitigation, downtown viability, recreation opportunities and quality of life improvements. As I indicated, Denville has some challenges in the coming years.”


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