SAYREVILLE — Two Borough Council officials are departing as the year comes to an end.
The Dec. 14 meeting marked the final appearance of Council President David McGill and Councilman Ricci Melendez as members of Sayreville’s legislative body, following the conclusion of their three-year terms.
Both Democrats, McGill and Melendez first ran together for council in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Nicholas Perrette and candidate Larry Doyle. Melendez received 7,737 votes and McGill registered 7,460 to Doyle’s 6,083 and Perrette’s 5,940.
Melendez lost his bid for re-election in this year’s race, coming in third with 3,006 votes. The two open council seats were obtained by Republican Pat Lembo and Democrat Steven Grillo, who picked up 3,093 and 3,047 votes, respectively. Republican council candidate Christian Hibinski drew 2,993 votes.
McGill did not seek re-election to the council, instead running for mayor against Republican incumbent Kennedy O’Brien. O’Brien won, obtaining 3,209 votes, while McGill received 3,022.
For their time as government officials, McGill and Melendez were honored by O’Brien and the rest of the council at the meeting.
“Being an elected official is not an easy task,” O’Brien said. “You’re kind of always out there, and your actions are always watched, and your actions are always judged. So with that, it takes a special type of person, one with courage to do this, in my humble opinion.”
After asking the council to stand, O’Brien awarded McGill and Melendez with plaques “for distinguished service rendered as a member of the Sayreville Borough Council from 2013 to 2015” and thanked them for their work. Council members Daniel Buchanan, Victoria Kilpatrick, Mary Novak and Art Rittenhouse also thanked their departing colleagues.
McGill and Melendez were given the opportunity to speak one last time as members of Sayreville’s council.
“It was a great opportunity to sit up here with these fine people,” Melendez said. “We didn’t always get along, but I think my goal was to come up here and wield some power in some ways, and I think we made some improvements in the area of my expertise, which is technology. My hope is in the future we do attract more of a diverse type of person to be on the council because diversity, in my belief, is going to make us stronger, better.”
Melendez also praised Borough Clerk Theresa Farbaniec and wished Lembo and Grillo success on the council before addressing McGill:
“I just want to thank Mr. McGill for his courage, his strength, running with him, and just being with this man every day, pushing me, making me want to be better, was one of the greatest things I’m never going to forget for the rest of my life.”
Once Melendez finished, McGill spoke. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work for the people of Sayreville and work up here with my confederates, both Republican and Democrat,” he said. “It’s been an eye-opener and what I mean by that is there’s a lot of moving parts to make this borough work. And most of the people who sit out there, or out on the street have no idea what it takes to run this borough.”
“My best to everyone,” McGill continued. “I’ve enjoyed myself, I’ve been treated very honorably over the last three years. I wish I could have done more for you.”