By WILLIAM CLARK
John Napolitani was sworn in as mayor of Ocean Township during the Township Council’s reorganization meeting July 1.
The four other members of the council also were sworn in to four year terms. Margie Donlon, Kelly Terry, David Fischer and Rob Acerra took their oaths in front of a crowd of about 50 family, friends, elected officials and other guests.
Napolitani was nominated for the position of mayor by Terry. Donlon received the nomination of deputy mayor from Napolitani. Both were approved unanimously.
Sen. Vin Gopal, Monmouth County Commissioner Tom Arnone and Municipal Court Judge Lisa Krenkel administered the oaths of office.
“It’s an honor to be sworn in by the first woman judge in Ocean Township,” Donlon said after Krenkel swore her in to continue as Deputy Mayor.
Gopal and Arnone made brief comments about each before swearing each in.
“John has done a great job as mayor,” Gopal said. “Not many people love service like John.”
Napolitani addressed the crowd and said that the spirit of bipartisanship was an important theme of the day. It was intentional that elected officials from the Democratic and Republican parties that represent Ocean at the county and state level were there to swear in the nonpartisan governing body.
“We chose to do a bipartisan swearing in to show thatwe are here to work together,” he said.
Napolitani went on to discuss upcoming priorities of the council: traffic, business on Route 35 and deer overpopulation.
“I already have a meeting with the (state) in 10 days to discuss this,” he said of the traffic problems that residents have brought to the council’s attention.
Napolitani went on to say that Township Manager David Brown is planning a business summit to discuss revitalization of commerce on Route 35. Finally, the council is planning to determine a course of action regarding deer within the year.
“We’re not going to sit here and not do anything anymore,” he said.
The final priority is to modernize the municipal building itself.
“It’s an antiquated 1950’s town hall that looks more like a farmer made a corn maze at Halloween,” he said. “So we need to fix what we have here now. I know that this entire team will work hard for everybody in the municipality. I assure that everyone up here has the best interest of our community at heart.”
During a recent public workshop session, Acerra made it clear to the council that he was interested in the position based on the length of his tenure and being the high vote getter in the May election.
Although the voters of Ocean Township select the five candidates they choose to join the council, it is the determination of the council itself to decide which member will serve as mayor and deputy mayor. There are neither regulations nor guidelines stating that vote totals play any part in the decision making process.