JACKSON – Attendees of a recent Township Council meeting learned who would fill the vacant seat left when Councilman Barry Calogero resigned and also witnessed a “zoom bomb” which hijacked part of the session.
Steve Chisholm Jr. will serve the remainder of Calogero’s term which expires at the end of the year. Chisholm was chosen by the members of the council who are all members of the Jackson Republican party. Calogero resigned in early May from the council citing health and family concerns. He was expected to run for re-election this year along with Councilman Ken Bressi whose term is also up at the end of December.
Name Rose To The Top
Chisholm’s name “rose to the top” Councilman Andrew Kern said. The sentiment was echoed by Councilman Ken Bressi.
Councilman Alex Sauickie said of the appointment process, “over the last month we received 10 applicants, all Jackson residents which was good because the last time we did this we had quite a few outside the town as well. All of them were very good men and women and all were looking for a way to help the town.”
Sauickie was officially sworn in as council president during the meeting, a position Calogero held.
Kern said the 10 applicants provided resumes and cover letters and that members of council went through those resumes and letters and made notes on each. “We called each and every one of the 10 candidates and had a discussion with them, generally 15 minutes to a half hour long.”
Each candidate was asked the same questions regarding past volunteer work that they were involved with and experience they had – personally and professionally – and how they felt they could work as part of a team, he said.
“We also asked them about their goals. In questioning the candidates we got some amazing answers. There are passionate people here that applied for this position and it really made me feel good listening and having these discussions with them and I truly hope that those that were not selected will stay involved and will become even more involved with the township,” Kern said.
Kern described Chisholm as currently having “a leadership position and has a business in town, family in town and has fantastic goals and other experience.
Councilman Martin Flemming, who joined the council early in the year replacing Robert Nixon who resigned from office at the end of November 2019, said, “I saw some great candidates. I felt some were very set to do other jobs in town and as Andy said one of the candidates kept rising to the top and I came up with the same person and that was Steve Chisholm. He has been in the town for a long time has a lot of ties in town and I am confident he will make a good councilman.”
Bressi said he agreed with Kern and Flemming that Chisholm was the best candidate and Sauickie concurred with the rest of the council.
Kern made the motion to appoint Chisholm which was quickly seconded and unanimously approved. Chisholm who was on the Zoom meeting made his way to town hall to be sworn in at the municipal building.
“I’d like to thank the rest of the council members for this opportunity and your support. I look forward to working with everyone up here on the council and serving the people of Jackson,” Chisholm said. Chisholm has served as the president of the township’s Chamber of Commerce and is an elder in his church.
Mayor Michael Reina congratulated Chisholm on his appointment on council as well as Sauickie and Kern for their respective appointments of leadership on the council. “We have a tough road ahead of us. I do believe you will fill that role nicely sir and my two running mates, council president and council vice president congratulations. I know you will lead just as well as you campaigned with me.”
New Committee Assignments
Following the unanimous approval of Sauickie as the new council president and Kern as council vice president the governing body moved to reorganize its council committee assignments. This needed to be redone in lieu of Calogero’s departure from the governing body and Chisholm’s arrival.
The vote reorganizing the council assignments was not approved unanimously. Bressi retained his position on the township’s veterans affairs committee as its chairman and with Sauickie as vice chair. Bressi served as U.S. Marine and currently heads the organization involved with the township’s Veterans Memorial.
Sauickie read off the new committees which included the administration committee which would be chaired by Sauickie and vice chaired by Flemming; Board of Education committee chairman is Kern and vice chair Sauickie (this is just the council members who are involved with the schools, not members of the Board of Education); business and finance chaired by Sauickie and vice chaired by Flemming; community development and land use will be chaired by Kern and co-chaired by Flemming and council on affordable housing (COAH) will be chaired by Sauickie and co-chaired by Flemming while the economic and advisory committee will be chaired by Chisholm and vice chair Flemming.
The emergency services committee will be chaired by Flemming who is a long-time member of a township fire department and vice chair Kern. The law and public safety committee will be chaired by Sauickie and the vice chair is Kern. The mobile home advisory committee will be headed by Flemming and vice chair Chisholm. Open space preservation committee will be chaired by Sauickie and vice chaired by Kern. Private residential communities advisory committee which the mayor presides over will include Sauickie. Public works, buildings and grounds and vehicle services will be chaired by Kern and its vice chair is Chisholm. Recreation and senior services will be chaired by Kern its vice chair is Chisholm. Municipal Court Committee will be chaired by Kern.
Bressi who was only appointed to one committee voted against the resolution reorganizing the committees. The rest of the council voted for the resolution.