Garwood held its 2012 reorganization meeting on Sunday afternoon at Borough Hall. The meeting included the swearing in of reelected councilmembers Sara Todisco(D) and Louis Petruzzelli(D), appointment of a council president, mayoral appointments and Mayor Quattrocchi's council committee appointments for the year. Mayor Quattrocchi also gave her State of the Borough address.
The meeting began with the introduction of special guests 7th-District Congressman Leonard Lance, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz. Congressman Lance addressed those in attendance and discussed the state redistricting, which expands the 7th district from 54 to 75 municipalities.
Assembly Bramnick spoke Garwood's praises, saying, "May the entire state be blessed with neighbor-to-neighbor help and friendliness that you have in Garwood. Garwood has always been a special place to live because one looks out for their neighbor."
The official meeting began with Mayor Quattrocchi swearing in reelected councilmembers Sara Todisco and Louis Petruzzelli. The council then chose Councilman Keith Sluka (D) as council president by a unanimous vote. Sluka was nominated by Councilman Jim Mathieu (R) with the nomination seconded by Councilman Petruzzelli. Councilman Victor DeFilippo (R) was also nominated by Councilman Timothy Hak (R), but the nomination did not receive a second.
Mayor Quattrocchi then read her appointments for several borough positions. The mayor's appointments that needed confirmation from council were approved unanimously. (See the agenda in our gallery, right, for the full list.)
Mayor Quattrocchi then read her planning board and council committee appointments for the year, reorganizing several councilmembers from 2011 appointments. (See the list, below.)
After the official business was through, Councilwoman Todisco thanked residents for reelecting her.
"It’s an honor to serve a borough that has served my family since it was founded," said Todisco. "I have had the opportunity to serve the residents here for past eight months as an appointment, and I am very grateful to the residents of Garwood for their vote of confidence in choosing me to serve them for the next three years."
Todisco said she is "very thankful for all those that supported me on Election Day, but I will always remember that I serve all the residents of Garwood – those who voted for me and those who did not."
Councilman Petruzzelli said he was thankful for all who were involved in his and Todisco's campaign. "I am honored and very humbled to be up here again for another three years," said Petruzzelli.
Newly elected Council President Keith Sluka pointed to the progress council made last year. "We had a lot of open discussion, and not always with party lines, sometimes against each other, and it really worked out well," he said. (Sluka also announced the score of the Giants game to much laughter and, it seemed, much appreciation from Giants fans in the audience.)
Councilman Mathieu commended Petruzzelli and Todisco on their reelection and also pointed to in the audience. "It speaks volumes about them and their character," said Mathieu. Mathieu pointed out several other former Garwood politicans in the audience, saying, "If you’re involved in Garwood politics it's a lifetime commitment. I'm not sure that happens everywhere and that happens here. That is a fabulous, fabulous thing."
Mathieu added that after speaking with several residents he found there are lots of people in the borough who are having a hard time paying their taxes.
"I want to challenge this council to pull your belt in and cut one percent from the budget," said Mathieu. "Let's show some respect for people out there who are hurting and there are lots of them."
Mayor Quattrocchi then gave her State of the Borough Address, citing Transit Village possibilities and revamping the Office of Emergency Management as her top priorities for 2012.
In public portion of the meeting Rosemary Snow, a crossing guard, commended Garwood Police Chief Bruce Underhill for his help as students come and go from school.
Bruce Paterson asked about the new Transit Village Study Committee amongst the mayor's assignments. Mayor Quattrocchi explained that the committee will explore transit village possibilities and discuss reports from New Jersey Transit regarding buses and trains.
"We need to take a look at and put a handle on redevelopment of North and South avenues and do it smartly," said Quattrocchi. "We're going to start out small and then the committee will be added to as needed."
Bob Pender inquired about whether the Summer Recreation program will be able to be held at the Little League Field seeing construction on the Athletic Field Complex will likely begin shortly. Mayor Quattrocchi said she doesn’t know the exact status of the project but believes that it will likely be a construction site this summer. The mayor suggested Hartman Park and Washington School as sites that Recreation has used in previous years.
Planning Board Appointments
Mayor Quattrocchi, Bruce Paterson and Councilman Victor DeFilippo were each reinstated for another one-year term. Steve Greet was added for a four-year term and former Councilwoman Kathleen Villaggio was added as an alternate for a two-year term.
Council Committee Assignments
Police, Public Health & Safety – Chair: Timothy Hak; Victor DeFilippo & Sara Todisco (was Chair: Linken; DeFilippo & Mathieu in 2011)
Board of Health Liaison – Sara Todisco (no appointee in 2011)
Streets, Roads and Ecology – Chair: Timothy Hak; Keith Sluka, Louis Petruzzelli (was Chair: Hak; Sluka & Mathieu in 2011)
Fire – Chair: Louis Petruzzelli; Jim Mathieu, Keith Sluka (was Chair: Petruzzelli; Hak, Sluka in 2011)
Finance – Chair: Sara Todisco; Victor DeFilippo, Louis Petruzzelli (was Chair: Mathieu; DeFilippo, Linken in 2011)
Buildings & Grounds – Chair: Victor DeFilippo; Louis Petruzzelli, Timothy Hak (was Chair: DeFilippo; Petruzzelli, Hak in 2011)
Laws & License – Chair: Keith Sluka; Victor DeFilippo, Sara Todisco (was Sluka, Mathieu, Petruzzelli in 2011)
Recreation – Chair: Jim Mathieu; Keith Sluka, Timothy Hak (was Hak, Linken/Todisco, Sluka in 2011)
Committee on Aging – Timothy Hak (was DeFilippo in 2011)
Library, Mayor's Representative – Jim Mathieu (was Hak in 2011)
School Board Liaison – Keith Sluka (was Sluka in 2011)
Transportation Advisory Council Representative – Jim Mathieu (was Mathieu in 2011)
Celebration of Public Events & Holiday Liaison – Sara Todisco (was Linken, replaced by Todisco in 2011)
UC Air Traffic Noise Advisory Board Representative – Jim Mathieu (was Petruzzelli in 2011)
Athletic Complex Project Committee – Louis Petruzzelli (was Petruzzelli in 2011)
Special Committee: PBA Contract Negotiations Committee – Chair: Victor DeFilippo; Mayor Quattrocchi, Timothy Hak (no committee in 2011)
Union County Community Dev. Revenue Sharing Committee – Chair: Mayor Quattrocchi; Timothy Hak; Alternate: Louis Petruzzelli (was Chair: Mayor Quattrocchi; Jim Mathieu; Alternate: Timothy Hak in 2011)