SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – The Annual Reorganization meeting of the Town of Scotch Plains was called to order exactly on the dot of 12:30 pm on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 to a standing room only crowd.
After Father John Paladino of St. Bartholomew’s had the invocation and the roll was called, it was then time for the main event – the swearing in of new Mayor Kevin Glover and new Councilmember Colleen Gialanella.
Kevin Glover placed his hand on the Bible held by his wife Joanne, while Assemblyman Gerald Green did the honors of swearing him into office. It was then time for Assemblywoman Linda Stender to swear in Colleen Gialanella, as she placed her hand on the Bible held by her husband Anthony and her two children.
In his message to the town, Mayor Kevin Glover thanked Assemblyman Green for his mentorship, friendship and support. “I really appreciated the way he would always end every conversation with ‘how can I help?’.” He went on to also acknowledge Assemblywomen Linda Stender for her support and was quick to point out that she is now a resident of Scotch Plains.
Mayor Glover then gave a special vote of thanks to Democratic Chairman Lou Beckerman. “No one worked as hard as he did to prepare us for game day; he was always encouraging us to be positive and informative. You are our very own Vince Lombardi, a world champion coach.”
Mayor Glover then turned to his running mate Colleen Gialanella, acknowledging her hard work, generous nature and pointing out that she is someone who “loves her community and is committed to making it better.”
After thanking various dignitaries for attending, Mayor Glover thanked his “wife of 40 years and First Lady” Joanne Glover.
“I accept with a sense of purpose and a mandate to move our town forward. A number of our residents are still working to make themselves whole after Hurricane Sandy. Although we did not fare as badly as the Jersey Shore, it was bad enough. I am going to make sure we receive every cent of state and federal aid that we are entitled to,” said Mayor Glover. This comment was greeted with applause and he went on to thank all of the town services and volunteers who had helped during the storm.
“While we can cope with bad news, we can’t cope with no news.” Mayor Glover then announced that he and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr had jointly applied for a broadcasting license for an emergency radio station. “Hopefully, in March we will get the approval and 60 days after that we should have an emergency radio station at AM 530, where people can get news even in a total blackout by using their car radio or a radio run on batteries.”
“This in only one example of how we can work together with Fanwood - It is time to get serious about sharing services with Fanwood as one way of reducing costs for both towns. . . the time has come to nail down details of a shared police department. . .while assuring the residents of both towns that they will continue to receive the fast, professional response that they are used to,” said Mayor Glover
The next item to receive a round of applause was Mayor Glover’s announcement that his intention was to work to return the sewer fee to the municipal budget. “I will make this a top priority.”
Mayor Glover then talked about Scotch Plains businesses, and how it was time to look at the Special Improvement District,(SID) as it was “not doing what it was supposed to do.” He highlighted that good intentions are not enough and there would be a suspension of the funds to the SID.
“My goal is to begin a new and friendlier relationship with downtown businesses to create a more vibrate downtown business district.”
Mayor Glover concluded his remarks by emphasizing how important it was for the governing body of Scotch Plains to be fiscally responsible and transparent, while still being socially responsible. “It is a privilege to have been elected as your Mayor. I want to begin with a clean slate. . and leave the rancor of the past behind.”
As his first official motion, Mayor Glover moved to nominate Councilmember Colleen Gialanella as deputy mayor. This was seconded by Councilman Marcus, and passed unanimously by the Council.
I want to thank everyone of you for all your hard work and support, I would have not benable to do this without you,” said the Deputy Mayor Gialanella.”I also want to publically thank our former Mayor and past and current council, and most importantly, my running mate Kevin Glover for entertaining questions and phone calls at ungodly hours!”
Deputy Mayor Gialanella went on to outline how she feels that “common sense government” does not have to be a cliché,” and that the time for politics is over. “There is no room for party politics at the local level and I welcome constructive contributions for both sides of the aisle.”
She then challenged residents to get involved, to join a service group, sit on a committee or find some other way of volunteering in the community. “I promise to be diligent, I promise to try my very best to live up to your expectations, and to be accessible.”
In a short exchange of words, the business portion of the agenda was dealt with by approving all but one of the resolutions. Councilman Bo Vastine objected to the resolution establishing Rules and Regulations for Township Council Meetings and it was placed on the agenda for the first Business Council Meeting later in January. Mayor Glover then read a short list of committee and board appointees.
Louis Beckerman than took the podium, and thanked everyone involved in the campaign, including Linda Stender as his co-chair of the local Democratic Committee. “I am very proud to be the chairman of the Democratic Committee. This is a historic occasion where Kevin and Colleen were elected by over 1,500 votes, which I think is a record. We humbly appreciate your support.”
Senator Nick Scutari also had a few words of congratulations and support for the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, thanking all who supported them.
Mayor Glover then invited Vincent Losavio, owner of John’s Meat Market to the podium. Losavio congratulated the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, saying that he was proud to be a business owner in Scotch Plains and how he looked forward to participating in the new Council’s plans for the business district.
The Annual meeting was then adjourned, and everyone was invited to the Italian American Club to celebrate the New Year.