BERKELEY – Although Mayor Carmen Amato had already announced his candidacy for Senate, he made a personal statement recently thanking the community for letting him serve them for so many years.
Amato had spent 12 years on school boards, a few years on the Township Council and will finish out his 12th year as mayor on December 31, 2023. He was the only Republican who sought the State Senate seat of retiring Christopher Connors (R-9th). He received the official endorsement from the county Republicans.
“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve as mayor of Berkeley Township,” he said at a recent Township Council meeting. He spoke then because the deadline for running for re-election was near and he wanted to explain why he wasn’t running again.
“I’m very grateful to the residents of Berkeley Township for that honor. It’s been 12 wonderful years…It’s been 12 difficult years,” he said, mentioning the challenges of Superstorm Sandy, forest fires, and the pandemic.
“An opportunity has been afforded to me to move to a greater role,” he said. “I plan on working each and every day for the citizens and will continue to be responsive to the community until my term is expired.”
He was emotional in his statement and had to pause to collect himself. “I really love this town. Thank you everyone for this.”
The council members all shared kind words for the mayor during a portion of the meeting reserved for them to talk about anything going on in town.
Council President John Bacchione, who had announced his candidacy for mayor after Amato announced he was seeking the senate seat, noted that Amato had been the town’s leader through difficult times and still kept taxes low.
“You did a great job governing this municipality. It’s been a great honor working under it,” he said.
Councilman Angelo Guadagno said “You work tremendously hard. I don’t think the residents know how much you work. We don’t know how he does it. We are lucky to have you.”
“Thanks for keeping us together,” Councilman James Byrnes said. “I can’t wait ’til you go to Trenton so I can call Trenton every day.”
Councilman Michael Signorile said how many people in the senior communities talk about how happy they are with his work.
Councilwoman Sophia Gingrich had to initially pass on her turn to make a comment because she was crying. Finally it came back around to her and she said “The most important thing is that he’s a friend and he’s a man who sets his sights on what’s important and gets it done. He’s a man with integrity.”