Councilwoman Kim Finnegan is the new Township Council president in Jefferson as of the reorganization meeting of Thursday, January 2.
Finnegan was nominated for the post by former council president Debi Merz, who had previously stated she did not want to continue in that role. Finnegan was elected by votes of the three women on the council with Councilmen Bob Birmingham and Jay Dunham abstaining.
Dunham had previously nominated himself for president, seconded by Birmingham. Merz, Finnegan, and Councilwoman Melissa Senatore voted against him.
Senatore was unanimously elected council vice president.
Only a few reorganization matters required more than a perfunctory vote and the meeting was over in little more than an hour. Mayor Eric Wilsusen said he will give a year-end report at the January 15 meeting.
Wilsusen said all of the members of the new Land Use Board are people who served on the former planning or zoning boards. All members but the Class III member, a liaison from the council, are mayoral appointments under Jefferson’s strong-mayor form of government. Senatore was appointed by the council to fill that position, a one-year term.
Also one-year terms are the Class I member, Wilsusen, and the Class II member, an employee of the township. That seat will be filled by Captain Paul Castimore of the police department, operations commander of the administrative and patrol divisions.
Because the board is new, the Class IV members will have staggered terms rather than the three-year terms they will normally have to avoid all terms expiring the same year. Patricia Galfo and James Jacoby will serve for two years, John Palko and Dennis DeFrisco will serve three years, and James Hine and Clifford Williams will serve four years.
The alternate members will also serve staggered terms. Robert Deutsch and James Small will serve two-year terms, and Patty Fallon and Thomas Galfo will serve one year terms.
The board requires four alternates rather than two as the planning and zoning boards did because the elected officials are prohibited by the state’s Municipal Land Use Law from voting on use variances.
The mayor also made several appointments with the council’s advice and consent, including prosecutor James LaSala. His two alternates will be Lisa Thompson and Camile Kasser; any other Morris County Municipal Prosecutor can also serve as an alternate. Wilsusen also appointed Dan Agatino as public defender and Elizabeth Mueller and Andrea Sherrer police matrons. There is still a vacancy for a police matron. He appointed Stephanie McCormack secretary of the property maintenance board of appeals and Tom Mahoney zoning officer.
Council’s actions at the reorganization were routine.
Adopted was a temporary budget which must, by law, be one-fourth of the previous year’s budget. That amounted to $13,521,642.15.
The temporary water system budget is not constrained by the one-fourth rule and was set at $1,485,477.09. The sewer budget was set at $399,206.50. The garbage district budget was set at $607,094.25.
Other routine business included authorizing maintenance to facilitate emergency vehicle access on certain private roads: Garnet Drive, Timberwood Lane, Martin Lane, the dead end section of Mason Street and the unpaved portion of Rockaway Road. Council must certify each year that this does not mean the roads have been accepted as township property.
Council also authorized contracts for professional services as follows:
Township Attorney – Laddey Clark & Ryan, not to exceed $152,000
Planning Services – Jill A. Hartman, not to exceed $17,500
Engineering Services – Edward L. Haack & Associates, not to exceed $130,000 for six months with possible monthly extensions upon mutual agreement
Auditing: Wielkotz & Company, not to exceed $111,000
Bond Counsel – Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, not to exceed $36,000
Tax Appeal Attorney – Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, not to exceed $36,000
Labor Attorney – Cleary, Giacobbe, Alfieri & Jacobs, not to exceed $22,000
Risk Management Services – Willis of New Jersey, $62,000.