Stafford Reorganizes With New Mayor Myhre at the Helm

Jan 09, 2019
Photo by: Victoria Ford Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy swears in Mayor Greg Myhre with his family by his side.

On Tuesday, Jan. 1, as a new regime took office, the mood in the Stafford Township council meeting room was triumphant, even while some audience members could be heard murmuring about the 44 percent of voters who had supported Democrat Joe Mangino in the November election.

Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy swore in Mayor Greg Myhre and Councilmen Anthony Guariglia, Robert Henken-Siefken, Paul Krier, Thomas Steadman and George Williams. Police Chief Thomas Dellane swore in Councilman Michael Pfancook. Given the large turnout and to comply with the seating capacity, Fire Inspector Heidi Michel was on hand to grant preferential entry to family members of the incoming governing body who were there to witness the swearings-in. Others were instructed to wait in the lobby until after the swearing-in portion of the meeting.

Ocean County Administrator Carl Block of Pirate Lane, “as a homeowner, as a taxpayer and as former mayor,” publicly congratulated the new mayor and council for a “well-earned victory” and invited them to call on him for any information or assistance they may need. “I know you have a desire to run the town in a very professional manner, and I believe that you will.” He also advised them to cut the reorganization meeting short and go celebrate – “because it’s the last time you’re going to get to do it.” Block served as mayor of Stafford Township from 1983 to 2009.

Stafford Township water/sewer Superintendent Randy Giberson gave the invocation before the swearing-in of Myhre and each new councilman. Giberson prayed for Stafford to be “one township under God through the leadership of these men.” He read Psalms 127, verses 1 and 2, which suggest men’s work is in vain if not performed with divine guidance.

During the council’s remarks, Myhre called it a “great honor” and an “uplifting experience” to have been elected. The public’s ideas and input are crucial to the town’s success, he said. Strong leadership and community engagement will be required to face the challenges that lie ahead, he added. His administration will be, he said, results-oriented and prioritizes residents’ needs; their efforts will be “collaborative, transparent and constitutionally sound.” The rest of the council members expressed their thanks and promised to make residents proud.

The new council’s first official order of business was to pass a resolution appointing Paul Krier as council president; second was to appoint the firm of Gilmore and Monahan as township attorney, with Jean Cipriani taking the seat; next was to award a contract to JA Montgomery Risk Control for an operational assessment and assistance with recruitment and hiring of a new township administrator. George Gilmore is the Ocean County GOP chairman; former Stafford Administrator Paul Shives works for JA Montgomery, which is contracted by the Ocean County Joint Insurance Fund.

After a short break to allow some audience members to leave so members of the public who were waiting outside the room could come in and sit down, the council adopted its first ordinance, which was to prepare the 2019 budget, to exceed appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank. As part of the consent agenda, resolutions were passed to appoint Owen, Little and Associates as municipal engineer and T&M Associates as consulting engineer for the environmental commission and traffic consultant.

Krier read the voucher resolution to authorize the payment of bills in the amount of $778,087.81. During public comment, Sal Sorce of Island Woods Estates welcomed the new council and requested that, going forward, the council give a summary of bills being paid.

Outgoing Councilwoman Sharon McKenna of Admiral Avenue told the new governing body: “Your success is Stafford’s success. I have all the faith in the world in you. Crush it.”

Joe Mazzola of Galley Avenue wished them luck. “In the beginning nobody thought you were going to make it, but you deserve it. You did it.”

Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen Amato and Councilman John Baccione were in attendance; Baccione rose and spoke in support of the new administration, acknowledging their hard work to win the election and their strength as a team.

— Victoria Ford

(Photo by: Victoria Ford)
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