MADISON, NJ – The balance of the Madison Council shifted on Monday, Jan. 2, when Maureen Byrne (D) was sworn in as the newest council member. Patrick W. Rowe (R) was sworn in for a second term.

The council now has five Democrats and one Republican. Robert G. Catalanello (R) was honored by Mayor Robert Conley for his commitment since 2011 on numerous committees, especially his fundraising efforts for the Madison Recreation Complex and his tireless efforts to preserve Madison’s Triple A Bond Rating. “We didn’t always agree," Mayor Conley (D) said, but added they could meet over a cup of coffee and explore their differences.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve,” Catalanello said, “and to bring us to a place of financial stability.” He also commented on the Madison sports complex and added, “Good luck to everyone.” Al three council members received standing ovations.

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Mayor Conley recognized numerous volunteers, stating, “Each made their mark on our community.” Council member Carmela Vitale was named council president for the coming year.

During the mayor’s message, Conley reflected on the loss of many residents of the borough who died within the last year and on the state of Madison moving forward.

“We’re ready for another great year,” he said. Conley emphasized the downtown improvements and historic home preservation. “We’ll have a more vital town center,” he said, following a recent survey done by consultants. Earlier in the year, a symposium was held, with a presentation by experts, to address historic aspects of the community. He particularly noted Ridgedale Avenue, which led to protection of historic homes.

“As mayor, I‘m most proud of how we have worked together to make Madison a better place,” he said. He said that, although there were tensions at council meetings, “Support would triumph in the end. We’ll work together in 2017.” Conley recalled several areas that resulted in “breaking down walls and barriers for the 16,000 residents.” They included the town and gown connection with Drew University and the College of Saint Elizabeth, the Black Lives Matter support and a number of parades and recognitions in the community.

Earlier in the evening, an Invocation was given by Javier Viera, Dean of the School of Theology at Drew University; the Madison Police Department Honor Guard made the Presentation of Colors; the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Captain (Ret.) Jeff Pettitt, USCG and the national anthem was led by Elizabeth Monkemeier.