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Mayor Hern: Borough's On 'Course Toward Better and Brighter Days'

Borough Council held its Re-Organization Meeting on Tuesday night in Council Chambers.

Frigid temperatures didn’t stop members of the community from attending the Borough’s Re-Organization meeting last night, as a packed room kept Council Chambers cozy.

Mayor J. Brooke Hern administered the oath of office to incumbent Councilman Alan Lesnewich, incumbent Councilman Armand Galluccio and Dr. Bob Robinson as they were sworn into their elected offices on the Borough Council to rounds of applause.

At the end of an Adjourned Meeting, outgoing Councilman Vincas (Vince) Vyzas turned in his nameplate, and was given a standing ovation.  Mayor J. Brooke Hern called Vyzas up to the front of Chambers in the beginning of the meeting to thank him for his three years of service. Vyzas’s whole family came up with him—including son Benjamin, whose birthday was going to be celebrated with cake after the meeting.

“On behalf of Borough Council and the people of New Providence, thank you for serving tirelessly,” Hern said. “I know how much of your heart and soul you put in for our town and we want you to know we appreciate it, and we appreciate your family giving up so much of your time. We hope you stay involved.”

Council President Michael Gennaro was nominated to be Council President for another year, while Councilman Armand Galluccio was nominated as the Council Member on the Planning Board.

A Year of Challenges

After a year that included Hurricane Irene, an earthquake and an October snowstorm, Hern made a point to acknowledge and thank public employees and volunteers for their hard work in his annual message.

“As always, the strength and vitality of New Providence comes from the people who serve it. Time and again over the past year, our employees and volunteers put forth an extraordinary effort in their dedication to our town,” Hern said. “Most notably, a hurricane and a winter storm strained our municipal resources and left too many people without power for far too long. And through it all, those who serve New Providence performed with exceptional professionalism. Nearly every resource of the borough was impacted and utilized.”

Economically, Hern spoke of confidence that New Providence has weathered the storm, though the county and state may still be struggling.

“Once again, we start this new year facing great economic challenges. Yet New Providence remains vibrant and robust,” he said. “Even while too many people, businesses in our borough and in our state have been deeply impacted by a struggling economy, so too have we witnessed an unyielding determination and unfettered resilience that’s put our community on a slow and steady course toward better and brighter days.”

The Course

Hern also pointed out two, powerful tools given by voters to Borough Council to transform New Providence. First, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, voters approved a public question to expand the permitted use of the Open Space Trust Fund.

Second, voters also gave overwhelming support to allow the sale of Liquor Consumption Licenses in New Providence. Hern said as the council moves carefully and prudently to regulate the types of businesses that can operate with these licenses, the bidding process will begin. 

“Thriving restaurants will attract more consumers to our downtown… they’ll increase visibility for all of our local stores. And they’ll lift our business district to new levels of success and prosperity,” he said.

Hern said voters—through referendums, public comments, and elections—have set the course for New Providence.

“The people of New Providence have chosen commercial redevelopment rather than the irresponsible overdevelopment of condominiums and commercial property and that is the course we are on,” he said. “They chose to retain ownership of our parks and to find local solutions to improve our athletic fields, to meet ever-increasing demand and address overuse, and that is the course we are on. They chose a government that is more transparent in it’s deliberations, more open to differing views and arrives at public policy, not through controversy, but through consensus. And that is the course we are on.”

Employee Service Awards, Installation of Officers, Police Awards

On June 1, 2011, the Rescue Squad answered a 9-1-1 call in which the individual was unresponsive in a car. Teresa Nell, Susan DeLuise, Bill Schmeelck and Marc Bernstein found the individual in the front seat of a car without a pulse and not breathing.

After extracating the individuals from the vehicle and administering basic life support and CPR, members of the Rescue Squad continued on the road to the nearest hospital. Ultimately, the patient's pulse was restored.

Because of their heroic actions, Nell, DeLuise, Schmeelck and Bernstein received the Life Saving Award.

During the last year, the Rescue Squad answered a total of 689 calls. While there are 32 names on the squad’s roster, the roster includes people away at college and high school members. Some members have been covering four shifts a week instead of one.

Amy Evans, President of the New Providence Rescue Squad, put out a call to service, inviting anyone interested in joining the Rescue Squad to contact them.

“We would love to hear from you,” Evans said. Visit www.newprovems.org for more information.

Over at the New Providence Volunteer Fire Department, Chief Ralph Parlapiano said they ran 579 calls in 2011—199 due to Hurricane Irene. Out of 121 fire alarms, Parlapiano said only 3 were actual fire alarms.

“We encourage people to change their batteries [in their smoke detectors]” he said.

Among others receiving awards for years of service, Wendi Barry received an award for 30 years of service as Borough Clerk. Hern thanked her for her work.

“What Wendi does for us is nothing short of amazing,” he said. “She knows what needs to get done and she makes sure we all do it.”

Police Chief Anthony Buccelli reminded everyone that even being understaffed by 12% in 2011, members of the police department performed well in response to the year’s natural disasters.

“As we move forward in 2012, let’s do the best to help each other,” he said.

Six Auxiliary Police Officers (volunteers) were also sworn in at the meeting.

Appointments

The following are the administrative appointments made by Mayor Hern at last night’s meeting with concurrence of the borough council:

  • Denise Gelormini, Deputy Borough Clerk
  • Wendi B. Barry, Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator
  • Wendi B. Barry, Affirmative Action Public Agency Compliance Officer
  • Keith Lynch, Municipal Housing Liaison
  • Vito Gallo, Affordable Housing Administrative Agent
  • James Johnston, Recycling Coordinator
  • Susan DeLuise, 1st Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator
  • William Hoefling, 2nd Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator
  • Keith Lynch, Property Maintenance Officer
  • Donald Bogosian, Municipal Court Judge
  • Robert Thelander, Municipal Prosecutor
  • Carl Woodward, Substitute Municipal Prosecutor
  • John DeMassi, Public Defender
  • Keith Lynch, Construction Official, Building Subcode Official and Fire Subcode Official
  • Joseph Marretta, Electrical Subcode Official
  • Joseph Caputo, Plumbing Subcode Official
  • John Kostrowski, Alternate Building Inspector and Alternate Plumbing Inspector
  • Keith Lynch, Alternate Electrical Inspector
  • Joseph Marretta, Alternate Fire Inspector
  • Susan DeLuise, William Griffin, Beth Herman, Matthew Hurlman, Bruno Marto, Bryan Paul, Robert Sagendorf, Jessica Thedinga, Diane Wolfe, Auxiliary Police Officers
  • Carl Woodward, Borough Attorney
  • Saul Wolfe, Skoloff and Wolfe, Tax Attorney
  • Martin Allen, of DiFrancesco, Bateman, Coley, Yospin, Kunzman, Davis & Lehrer, Tax Attorney
  • Birdsall Engineering, Municipal Planner
  • Dr. Donna Vickery, Borough Physician
  • John Milano, Comptroller
  • Michael Pennisi, member of the Board of Adjustment for a four-year term
  • Wiliam Hoefling, 2nd alternate member of the Board of Adjustment for a two-year term
  • Mark Germansky, member of the Affordable Housing Board for a three-year term
  • Alice Browning, member of the Library Board of Trustees for a five-year term
  • Vincent Enright, member of the Library Board of Trustees for a five-year unexpired term ending December 31, 2012
  • Maxine Hirsch, Mayor’s representative to the Library Board of Trustees for a one-year term
  • Tzu-Lin Toner and Maureen Parker, Union County Community Development Revenue Sharing Committee, with Mark Demareski and Keith Lynch as alternates for the year 2012
  • Gary Kapner, Planning Board Member to the Downtown Improvement Board for the year 2012
  • John Keane, Resident Member to the Downtown Improvement Board for the year 2012
  • J. Brooke Hern, Governing Body Member of the Downtown Improvement Board for the year 2012

Several community members were also appointed to the following committees for the year of 2012:

Beautification Advisory Committee

  • Gail Cronin
  • Clivia Esposito
  • Perri Everton
  • Roxanne Giacalone
  • Laini Regan
  • Lisa Sanczyk

Cable TV Advisory Committee

  • Alex Pastushenko
  • Gene Mikijanic
  • Frank Sommo

Emergency Management Team

  • Megan Avallone
  • Dr. Paul Carniol
  • Donna Sarna
  • Susan DeLuise
  • Mark Demareski
  • Amy Evans
  • Armand Galluccio
  • J. Brooke Hern
  • Robert T. Robinson
  • Maria DeLauro
  • William Hoefling
  • James Johnston
  • Patricia Kummer
  • Jeannie Maier
  • Al Morgan
  • Ralph Parlapiano
  • Cindy Reis
  • Lauri Gill
  • Teresa Nell

Sustainability Advisory Committee

  • Barbara Friedman
  • Eric Freidman
  • John Glendinning
  • Warren Kudman
  • Kevin McLane
  • Steve Moser
  • Ian Singer
  • Douglas Sullivan

Insurance Advisory Committee

  • Nolan Asch
  • Roddy Colcord
  • Ted Davies
  • Lora Dougherty
  • John Fitzpatrick
  • Alex Pastushenko

Municipal Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse

  • Tracy Beckerman
  • Dennis Carovillano, Police
  • Dave Chango
  • Mary Ann Comparetto
  • Tara Cullen-McFarland
  • Bill Dibble, BOE Liaison
  • Armand Galluccio
  • Shirley Grande-Harrington
  • Krina Griffin
  • Michael Lacovelli
  • Kathleen Jonovich
  • Gary Kapner
  • Marie McNally
  • Nora Murphy
  • Joe Narciso
  • Donna Stumpf
  • Nina Sun, Student Member
  • Scott Torre, Police
  • Peter Wirth, Student Member
  • Katie Sabel, Student Member

Community Activities Advisory Board

  • Gloria Badgley
  • Erie Beemsterboer
  • Gene Castagna
  • Matt Cumiskey
  • Gene Castagna
  • Christine Cronin
  • Bill Harvey
  • Alex Kogan
  • Jim Madden
  • Beverly Rivkees
  • Tom Vitale

TV-35 Production Board

  • Phil Cook
  • Brian Hogarth
  • Joe Narciso
  • Frank Sommo

Historic Preservation Commission

  • Patrick Annelli
  • John Bale

Diversity Committee

  • Sunil Abrol
  • Barbara Babcock
  • Michael Glendinning
  • Peggy Hodgkins
  • Rupa Kale
  • Yelena Khusid
  • Harb Nayar
  • Leo Piovana
  • Beverley Rivkees
  • Marjan Nirou-Saniee
  • Peter Wirth

Board of Ethics

  • Michael Gennaro
  • Rob Muñoz
  • Bob Robinson

The following individuals were appointed by Mayor Hern:

  • Robert Lesnewich, Class IV member of the Planning Board for a four-year term
  • Daniel Henn, Class II member of the Planning Board for a one-year term
  • Gary Kapner, 2nd alternate member of the Planning Board for a two-year term
  • Dr. Peter Pizzi, member of the Board of Health for a three-year term
  • Larry Corsi, member of the Board of Health for a three-year term
  • Dr. Richard Paris, 2nd alternate member of the Board of Health for a two-year term
  • Andre Luboff, Union County Transportation Advisory Board for a one-year term

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