Former mayor to serve on Planning Board

Nance Palladino, who was defeated in the primary for reelection to the West Amwell Township Committee, was named to the board by new Mayor Thomas Molnar.

By: Linda Seida
   WEST AMWELL — Former Mayor Nance Palladino, whose term on the Township Committee expired Dec. 31, has agreed to serve on the Planning Board.
   Ms. Palladino, who also is a Hunterdon County freeholder, will serve a four-year term. She was appointed during the township’s reorganization meeting Jan. 1 by Thomas Molnar, the township’s new mayor.
   "Nance has played a key role in the township’s development for the past 12 years," Mayor Molnar said. "Her knowledge of the history of the township, in especially the last dozen years, is invaluable. She sat in the mayor’s chair three times in those 12 years. I believe that by retaining her on the Planning Board, she will help us to steer the township in the direction that we want to go. I personally hope that Nance will always remain active in local politics."
   The last official meeting over which Ms. Palladino presided as mayor was Dec. 28. The evening was marked by impromptu tributes from several residents. They stood one by one to thank her for her years of service on the Township Committee and expressed sorrow over seeing her move on.
   Ms. Palladino lost a bid for re-election to the township’s governing body in the June primary when she ran against Betty Jane Hunt for the Republican nomination. Ms. Hunt, the township’s former clerk, won the primary but lost the election to Democratic write-in candidate Ron Shapella.
   Also during the reorganization meeting, Mayor Molnar thanked all township volunteers, past and present, for their service.
   "In my choice of appointments, I have selected people who I believe will work in the best interests of all of the residents of West Amwell," he said after announcing the appointments for 2006. "They represent a broad cross section of our community. Some have resided in West Amwell for many decades while others are relative newcomers who will offer new perspectives and insights. As we move forward together as a township, it is important that we remain respectful of our past while mindful of our future.
   "Most importantly, I expect all of our board members to uphold the highest standards of public accountability. All of our board members, elected officials and municipal employees must always remember that we work for the residents of West Amwell and not for personal or private interests."
   Mr. Shapella was sworn in as the newest member of the Township Committee. Gary Bleacher became deputy mayor.
   "I’ve always considered it a great honor to be here," Mr. Shapella said.
   He previously served on the committee for six months in 2004 when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term vacated by Peter Buchsbaum, who resigned to accept a judgeship on the New Jersey Superior Court.
   Also appointed to the Planning Board for four-year terms were Joan Smith and Joan Van der Veen. Other board appointments were Ron Shapella, Carmen Perri and Mayor Molnar for one-year terms. Alex Greenwood was appointed as an alternate with a two-year term.
   Catherine Urbanski and Ms. Van der Veen were appointed to three-year terms on the Environmental Commission with Mrs. Urbanski as chairwoman. Mayor Molnar praised Mrs. Urbanski for her wealth of ideas and enthusiasm.
   "Cathy goes above and beyond what is asked of her," he said. "She’s just fantastic. I’m so glad she’s volunteered her time. I’m so glad she lives in the township."
   "Of course I am honored that Mayor Tom Molnar has placed such trust in me," Mrs. Urbanski said. "I will continue to work very hard in 2006 and hope to justify his and the Township Committee’s trust. This year we have a lot of work to do: the 319(h) grant to develop a watershed protection plan for the Alexauken Creek, providing support for the stormwater ordinance and continuing our goals of protecting the environment of the township."
   The grant for a watershed protection plan consisted of $239,000 from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which will enable the township to develop the Alexauken Creek Watershed Protection Plan. The commission is in the process of recruiting and training volunteers to identify sources of pollution and areas of erosion, which are among the first steps required before developing a plan of protection.
   Also appointed to the commission was Gary Robinson to fill an unexpired three-year term and Andrew Nowick as an alternate for a term of two years. Chester Urbanski, Mrs. Urbanski’s husband, was appointed to a four-year term on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Bob Wilson was appointed to a two-year term as an alternate.
   Appointments to the Cross Acceptance Committee include Sean Pfeiffer, John Dale, Mr. Perri, Mr. Shapella, Mrs. Urbanski and Mr. Robinson. Appointments to the General Development Plan Committee include Mr. Bleacher, Mr. Molnar, Mr. Shapella, Mr. Greenwood, Ms. Palladino, Mr. Perri and Mr. Pfeiffer.
   Appointments to the Sourlands Smart Growth Committee include Joel Coyne, Mrs. Urbanski and Mr. Shapella.
   The Stormwater Committee appointments include Pete Hess, Mr. Pfeiffer, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Shapella and Mrs. Urbanski.