MONTVILLE, NJ – The Jan. 4 Montville Township Committee meeting was punctuated by the naming of Frank Cooney as mayor and the re-swearing in of members Richard Cook and Richard Conklin.

Cooney, after being sworn in as mayor by state Senator Joseph Pennacchio, just had to say “Wow.”

He thanked his family, friends and supporters, and “humbly said wow” regarding the “tremendous privilege” and honor of being named mayor.

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“[I say] wow, because I was lucky to have been raised in this great town, graduate from Montville Township High School, have a wonderful career in this township, and fulfilled so many dreams,” he said.

He talked about always wanting to be a police officer in town, and volunteering for the First Aid Squad and Montville Fire Department.  He became a police officer in 1994, served for more than 20 years, and retired in 2014. Montville was there for him, he said.

“Wow, because I always wanted to have my own small business, and in 1996, I opened Metro Pet Supply, originally a van delivering pet supplies to homes,” he said. “Today there is a storefront on Route 202 and a van. Montville was there for me.”

Cooney thanked all the volunteers on the various boards, township employees and administration, and said that “We are one Montville and we will keep that message alive with the help of our community – always working together,” and promised to “be there for Montville Township.”

Out-going mayor Richard Conklin was sworn in for his third – and final, he stated in his remarks – term. In his remarks he also promised to “listen to residents’ concerns, seek their opinions, keep a watchful eye on spending, and manage future development to help preserve Montville Township’s heritage and character.”

As committee member Richard Cook was sworn in for his second term, he teased Mayor Cooney on formerly being his subordinate when Cook was police chief and Cooney was a police officer, saying, “Frank loves the town and I’ll always support him in his new role – although I have to [tease you] a little bit, I was your boss for a long time so I have some problems with this!”

Cook also thanked Conklin for serving as mayor with honor, integrity, and providing great leadership for the committee.

“He truly has Montville in his heart,” Cook said.

Cook thanked the board volunteers, the township staff, and fire and first aid squad volunteers as well.

“I would also ask all our residents to reject hate, confront evil, and be sure that everyone is able to express their religious beliefs safely and in peace,” he said.

Committee Member Matt Kayne thanked administration and the police for their hard work, plus all the volunteers as well. Committee Member June Witty thanked the committee and said she thought they worked well together and she thought they were ready for 2020.

The following former board members were honored for their service to township boards:

  • Michele Caron – Environmental Commission –13 years
  • Ronald Cain, Jr. – Economic Development Committee –14 years
  • Daniel Grant – Historic Preservation Review Commission –7 years
  • Andrew Pappachen – Environmental Commission –2 years
  • Vincent J. Failla – Historic Preservation Review Commission –2 years
  • Mark Wechsler – Board of Adjustment –1 year

The Montville Township VFW Post 5481, led by Post Commander Ken Hanzl, approached the committee to thank them for their support and wish them a happy new year. They received a standing ovation, especially when Hanzl introduced WWII veteran, 97-year-old Gerry Gemian.

The Montville Township Police Explorers Post 805 brought in the colors. Reverend Daeho Kim of the Sandol Church conducted the opening and closing prayers. Vincent Failla, Esq. was re-sworn in as municipal prosecutor.

The next regular meeting of the township committee will be on Jan. 14 at 8 p.m.

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