Siciliano takes office as mayor of Ocean Township


 Mayor Chris Siciliano has been sworn in to begin serving his first full term as the Ocean Township’s mayor.

Siciliano and Township Council incumbents Donna Schepiga, William Garofalo and Richard Long, who ran as the One Ocean slate along with newcomer Rob Acerra, were all sworn in to four-year terms on the council during a July 1 reorganization meeting.

“I just want to congratulate the mayor and the council members on your election,” resident Fenton Hudson said. “I hope you keep up the good work on having open public meetings and full disclosure on everything.”

Ocean Township is governed under the Faulkner Act and candidates running for office do not declare a party affiliation.

Each candidate runs for a council seat, and the council members then elect a mayor.

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden swore in Acerra and Long, Superior Court Judge Richard English swore in Garofalo and Siciliano, and Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon swore in Schepiga.

The council then unanimously voted to appoint Siciliano mayor and Garofalo deputy mayor. English swore each in.

The One Ocean candidates defeated their opponents, who ran under the Ocean Together banner, during the May 12 election.

Siciliano was the leading vote getter with 3,001 votes, followed by Garofalo with 2,793, Acerra with 2,775, Long with 2,614 and Schepiga with 2,490.

For the Ocean Together team, Sylvia Sylvia gained 1,368 votes, while Bob Angelini received 1,246, John Stuppi took in 1,151, Gail Matarazzo received 1,090 and Lawrence Mishkin received 972.

Siciliano has served on the council since 2003. He assumed the top spot in January when former Mayor William Larkin, who attended the reorganization meeting, resigned.

Schepiga has also served on the council since 2003 and is the liaison to the environmental and shade tree commissions.

Garofalo has served on the council since 2007 and is a member of the Planning Board.

Long was appointed to the council in January, taking Larkin’s seat. He previously served as a member of the Board of Education. His prior experience includes serving as a member of the Carteret Borough Council.

Acerra, a current member of the Board of Education, ran to fill the seat that had been held by Councilman W. Michael Evans, who did not seek re-election.

Siciliano presented Evans with a plaque in recognition of his time on council.

“We were honored to have him, Mike was just a great council person,” he said. “He really epitomizes that volunteerism, the guy who wanted to serve — with no agenda — and just wanted to serve his community.”

Acerra said he is excited to be a part of the township government.

“I’m looking forward to working with everybody, I learned a lot in the five or six months that I have been attending council meetings,” he said. “I do have large shoes to fill, I look forward to knocking on your door and asking a couple of questions.”