RANDOLPH, NJ- Virtual video conferences and meetings are everywhere these days due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the Randolph Township Council Reorganization meeting for 2021 was no different. Held on Thursday Jan. 7, many topics were covered, including the appointing of the new Mayor Mark Forstenhausler and Deputy Mayor Marie Potter.
Outgoing Mayor Christine Carey opened the meeting, sharing remarks about the unprecedented and challenging year that the whole country had just endured, then asked for a moment of silence for those who passed away from Covid-19. Carey then commented on the chaos in Washington DC the day before.
“What we saw unfold in Washington DC yesterday was devastating and deeply disturbing,” said Carey. “As Americans, we are shaken by what happened, and as a Council we condemn these acts and all acts of violence and extremism.”
Carey then reviewed the previous year, highlighting “every-day” accomplishments that were completed in spite of the challenges from the pandemic.
Some of these included - No increase in Municipal tax levy, creation of Diversity and Inclusion committee, opening of Veterans Park and the Community garden, installation of new Cell Towers, infrastructure improvements in water and sewer projects and road paving, raising awareness for NJ211 – a resource for residents in need of health and human services.
Forstenhausler, who will be serving his second term as Mayor, expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the appointment.
“I am honored and grateful that my colleagues on the Council have again selected me to serve as Mayor,” said Forstenhausler. I will do my best to serve our township and look for ways to improve our excellent quality of life.”
Forstenhausler then went on to compliment the “excellent work of Township Manager Steve Mountain and his staff in this unusual year”, as well as Township Clerk Donna Luciani, stating, “Donna had another successful year, made much more challenging by Covid-19 and the elections using mail-in ballots – she was up to the task and did a great job.”
He then discussed the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee he sat on with Council members Marie Potter and Lance Tkacs.
“We have spent countless hours gathering information, studying, and discussing ways to eliminate bias, improve relations, and celebrate diversity,” said Forstenhausler. “I am pleased that this council will pass a resolution this evening recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well as Black History Month.”
A few other things of note he mentioned were plans to equip Randolph police with both Tasers and body cameras, continuing to work with NJ-DOT on Rt. 10 intersection concerns, and a new Cannabis sub-committee that is working to understand the new state legislation.
Council members Joanne Veech, Lou Nisivoccia, and Lance Tkacs all spoke briefly, with each one congratulating the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, thanking their own families, stating what committees they will chair this year, and offering New Year wishes to the community.
“Happy New Year; let’s all practice peace and kindness - and pray for the health and safety of our residents,” said Veech. “May God bless Randolph and the United States of America.”
Potter also took some time to address the residents and opened by congratulating Forstenhausler on being Mayor, while thanking him for his long-time service to Randolph on council, as Mayor, and as part of the volunteer fire department. She then complimented Carey, stating, “Being Mayor of Randolph in 2020 was no easy task – her integrity, dedication, and commitment to public service was essential.”
Potter then named the committees she will be part of, in addition to supporting the Mayor in 2021. She concluded with a compliment to all the volunteers in Randolph, as well as the township in general.
“One of the reasons Randolph is such an exceptional town is due to all the volunteers who donate countless hours of their time to make it that way,” said Potter. Randolph is a community that shares each other’s burdens and really cares for neighbors.”