JACKSON – The faces were the same, with some shifts in duties. The Jackson Township Council ushered in its 173rd reorganization meeting on January 3 with the help of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Before the oaths took place, clerk Ann Marie Eden wished council a “successful and progressive” new year working for the township.
Guadagno swore in returning incumbents Kenneth Bressi, Robert Nixon and Barry Calogero; she swore in also Bressi as council president, and Ann Updegrave as council vice president.
“I would like to thank…Guadagno for taking the time from her busy schedule to swear us in,” Calogero told the audience. “What an extreme honor. You’ve always been a true friend to Jackson.”
Bressi, Nixon and Calogero ran unopposed in the November council elections, something that, in recent memory, has never happened.
Bressi moved up from his vice presidency, replacing Nixon. The new president said it’s been at least four, perhaps five, years since he was center dais.
“I was asked earlier what I thought about not being council president,” Nixon said. “Trust me, I’m just fine turning over the gavel to Ken today. All of us up here, I hope you know how seriously I took that role and what an honor it was.”
Bressi, a resident of Jackson for 43 years and a public servant in town for more than 30, first thanked his wife Karen and their children and their spouses and grandchildren for their support before praising Nixon’s tenure.
“Rob carried us through the last year as council president, he has really achieved a lot, and we truly appreciate it,” Bressi said. Nixon received a plaque of appreciation from the whole council for his service as council president.
Administrator Helene Schlegel offered apologies on behalf of Mayor Michael Reina, who was recovering from a severe respiratory illness.
The meeting was sparsely attended, with no comments from the public offered.
Updegrave spoke to The Jackson Times after the meeting to share her vision for this year’s council. Much of it has to do with staying the course the township has been on, which she said is “moving in a positive direction,” and remaining fiscally responsible.
Communication between the government and its citizens should remain open, she stressed, promising residents answers for any questions and concerns they may have.
Bressi weighed in on the new year too.
“I want to do the same thing that we have been so far as we move forward, to still protect the quiet life—naturally land use is my big thing—and try to address any concerns as they come up, when they come up.”
He said it’s time to focus on enforcement of the ordinances council has adopted, saying they’re only as a good as the paper they are written on without enforcement.
The Jackson Township Council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the municipal building, 95 W. Veterans Highway.