Calogero will serve as council president

Staff Writer

An air of optimism permeated Town Hall on Jan. 5 as officials gathered for Jackson’s 171st annual reorganization to ring in the new year with a host of official actions.

“I am really looking forward to working together again with this council and the mayor so that we can continue to do good things — not only because they are the right things to do, but also keeping in mind that everything we do, we do in the best interest of the residents of Jackson,” Councilman Robert Nixon said. Councilman Scott Martin and Councilman Barry Calogero will serve as the vice president and president, respectively, of the council in 2015.

“It is a humbling experience, and I will try to live up to the status that my good friend and former Council President Rob Nixon had,” Calogero said. “They are big shoes to fill, and I will do my best to maintain integrity, dignity and honesty at the dais as long as I am council president.” Mayor Michael Reina, Councilwoman Ann Updegrave and Martin were sworn in to begin serving new terms as their friends, family members and supporters watched from the audience. All three officials won re-election in November.

“It is my continuing honor to represent the township of Jackson and the residents,” Updegrave said.

Martin said he is excited to continue working with the rest of the council, although he acknowledged that he needed to do some soul-searching before he sought re-election in 2014.

“I felt like I had more to give,” he said. “The last eight years, I have enjoyed being on the council … and [my wife and I] decided it was best to move forward and run.”

During the meeting, the members of the governing body appointed individuals to various positions and municipal boards.

Reina appointed Dan Burke, who is Jackson’s in-house engineer, and Timothy Dolan to the Planning Board. The mayor appointed Marie DiStefano Miller as an alternate member on the board.

The council appointed William Allmann to a commissioner’s position on the Jackson Township Municipal Utilities Authority.

“This township really operates on the strength of its volunteers and the community. We could not do with without [them],” Nixon said.

The council reappointed Jean Cipriani, of the firm Gilmore and Monahan, as Jackson’s township attorney and affordable housing attorney.

Other appointments included Charles Rooney, of T&M Associates, as township engineer; John Maczuga, of T&M Associates, as affordable housing planner; the firm of Remington, Vernick and Vena as township planner; the firm of Holman and Frenia as township auditor; Christopher Shea, of R.C. Shea and Associates, as municipal public defender; and Steve Zabarsky, of the firm Citta, Holzapfel and Zabarsky, as municipal prosecutor.

The council approved a $9.5 million temporary budget to cover the first fiscal quarter of 2015.

“We have a lot to look forward to and a lot to get over, but most importantly, we have to move forward,” Reina said. “The council and myself will not leave [the residents’] side.”