PEAPACK AND GLADSTONE NJ - Peapack and Gladstone Mayor Bill Muller gave his fourth annual mayoral address at Tuesday's re-organization meeting of the borough council. He broke his address into three categories: People, Places and Things to do.
2017 brought more change to the borough in terms of the people on the governing body, and the people who work for the borough.
"Clerk/Administrator John Gregory left us and the Council made the decision to split his position into two separate employees," said Muller. As a result, Nancy Bretzger joined us as our new clerk and Christopher Tietjen came aboard as Deputy Administrator. Randy Bahr has been handling the role of Acting Administrator until Chris is up to speed at which time Chris will be named Administrator, and Randy will step aside."
"Rodney McCatharn elected to retire, as did Deputy Clerk Donna Bassman and Deputy Court Administer Vicki Mangulson," continued Muller. "Police Chief Gregory Skinner announced his retirement effective December 31st."
Among elected officials, Muller pointed to Former Councilman Anthony Suriano, who elected not to be a candidate for a fourth term on the Borough Council, and Louis Palma retired from the Board of Education after 20 years of service.
In the borough hall, Michael Madalone, Chad Cook, and Anthony Duarte have joined the Department of Public Works; Adriana McKenna has begun work as a part-time clerk in the Assessor’s office; and Sara Jane Noll has joined the Zoning Department as Clerk to the Land Use Board.
Volunteer Steve Neville moved from town, resigning from the Land Use Board. Matt Sutte will join the LUB. John Terry passed away after years of service on various committees including the Land Use Board.
"To each and every one of these valuable people, I would like to express my appreciation for the work you do and, for those who have left our employ, we wish each of you well in future endeavors," said Muller.
Muller summarized some of the council's 2018 accomplishments:
"We have wrapped up some efforts which have taken considerable time and effort by Council members and staff. Most notably, the Matheny lawsuits, both State and Federal, have ended either by Superior Court decision or negotiated settlement."
"Our obligation for affordable housing has been settled with both the court and the Fair Share Housing Group. We are awaiting receipt of a contract from Fair Share confirming our agreement. This will require further action by the Land Use Board and Council in regards to zoning."
"The Council approved rental and property maintenance ordinances after extensive discussion and numerous revisions. If you are a landlord, please conform to the inspection requirements of the rental ordinance. Questions should be addressed to the Zoning Department."
"Other things that got accomplished this past year include refinishing the gym floor to improve safety, the Lime Kiln was re-pointed to stabilize that structure, and The Women’s Club held the first “Candidate’s Debate” which everyone considered a successful evening."
"At the request of residents, the gym is now open during off hours for use by residents. Please speak to the Administrator before using."
"Through a donation, the Environmental Commission along with our DPW planted 350 new trees in Rockabye Park."
THINGS TO DO
Muller pointed to 2018's big issues as contract negotiations with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), and the selection of our next Chief. Muller stated that the selection of a chief "is an endeavor with which none of us on the Council have experience, and we are anxious to proceed with this process carefully in order to achieve the best outcome for all concerned."
"We continue to work on renovation of both the Library and Liberty Park. The park, especially, requires us to work with the NJDEP which is terribly time consuming," continued Muller.
"Lastly, I would like to thank every person who volunteers or works for the town," concluded Muller. "Requirements that are imposed on the municipality increase every year and so does the required training. Our employee staff, as well as volunteers, spend a large amount of time to stay abreast of these changes and frequently do so on their own time."
"I am thankful for the dedication of each and every one of you and am optimistic that 2018 will be a fruitful and satisfying year."