JACKSON – Members of the Jackson Council closed out 2020 with a goodbye to a longtime council member and reflected on the difficulties they confronted during their last meeting of the year.
Councilman Ken Bressi bid goodbye to serving on the township council. His public service to the township began back in 1989. He received the thanks of the members of council and Township Clerk Janice Kisty. He also received a plaque during the evening.
“Councilman Bressi, the records going back that far when you started were a little hazy. Apparently, there was a fire back in the day and the records may have been destroyed but we have you starting on July 5, 1989,” Council President Alex Sauickie said.
“This being your last meeting after a long time serving the township, I wanted to recognize it and commemorate the dates and also the roles you played throughout your time here,” Sauickie said.
Bressi was acknowledged for serving as mayor, deputy mayor, committeeman, council president, council vice president, councilman, planning board chairman, planning board member, and member of the zoning board of adjustment. “Thank you for your commitment, compassion and dedicated service to our community.”
The councilman who served as a United States Marine has chaired the Jackson Township Veterans Memorial project since its inception has been an advocate for veterans and while serving as Council President, always opened council meetings with a moment of silence remembering those who had served and were currently serving in the armed forces.
He noted that during the holidays, those in the service don’t have the luxury of always being able to spend those times with their families.
“Please don’t ever forget that and that freedom is not cheap. Our first responders all help us live these freedoms in a safe manner and they really need to be watched over. They are always out there. Our armed forces, even during peace time are doing the same thing,” Bressi added.
Councilman Steve Chisholm congratulated Councilman Bressi for “all of his service over the years and all his community activities and different boards he served on here on council and thank you to Karen (Bressi’s wife) for giving him away for all these nights because I know he missed a lot of nights at home.”
“Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your future endeavors and I hope you keep working at something,” Councilman Martin Flemming said.
Council Vice President Andrew Kern said, “I would also like to acknowledge Councilman Bressi and his many years of volunteerism for the residents of our town and also Karen for allowing him to do so.”
Township Clerk Janice Kisty added, “I wish Councilman Bressi and his wife Karen the very best. I’ve known you for a long time and worked with you for many years. You’ll be fine, I wish it was me. God bless you, good health and happiness to you and all your family and whatever you do going forward.”
Bressi said later in the meeting that he did not regret the actions he took and the manner he voted in matters of the township and that he had always done so with the best intentions of the residents of Jackson at heart.
Sauickie told Bressi “your guidance this year and votes relating to pretty important matters in 2020 were very important and we appreciate that.”
“This is our last meeting of 2020 and it was a crazy year to say the least. Most of the world suffered and coming into this year personally I didn’t expect to become council vice president and I certainly didn’t expect my peers to ask me to become council president mid-year under some pretty unusual circumstances,” Sauickie said.
He referred to the resignation of former Councilman Barry Calogero who had been serving as council president following the resignation in November of 2019 of Councilman Robert Nixon who had held that position.
“The council tried our best to deliver for the town this year under some really tough situations. We try to be transparent by putting into effect for the first time Zoom where folks could see our meetings from home. We wanted to continue that so much that we continued to do it despite the fact that we are now open and don’t necessarily need to do it,” Sauickie said.
“The council dealt with some pretty big issues when we had an issue that deal with the quality of life in the town, we immediately passed a ban on short term rentals to make sure that the quality of life wouldn’t be effected by the way it was going forward.”
He noted that the governing body had a variety of items that it had to address in 2020. “Most importantly the Council is pretty united in our open space preservation and we believe in the environment that is pretty unique to Jackson and therefore are looking to protect it from overdevelopment.”
“We put a question on the ballot to increase the open space preservation fund that passed by an incredibly wide margin. I think we hold the record for the most acreage preserved in one year. I expect we will continue to do that as we move forward because that is what the residents of the town have asked of us,” he said.
“We hope that 2020 is behind us and we look forward to 2021,” Sauickie added.