Jackson Mayor Sworn In For Fifth Term

Jackson Mayor Michael Reina, left, is sworn in to his fifth term as mayor by Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn. He is joined by his wife Laura and granddaughter Angelina. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  JACKSON– Noted Ocean County political figures, relatives, and township residents all came out for the 179th annual reorganization meeting of the Township Council.

  The occasion involved the swearing in of Mayor Michael Reina who won re-election to his fifth, four-year-term last November.

  Joining him were his two council running mates of Scott Sargent and Jennifer Kuhn who were elected for their first term in office on Election Day.

  Reina was sworn in by Commissioner Gary Quinn. The council members were sworn in by Mayor Reina. Township Clerk Mary Moss swore in this year’s council president and council vice president.

  Reina defeated fellow Republican Martin Flemming in the fall election. Flemming was running with incumbent council members Andrew Kern and Samara O’Neill. It marked a very active campaign season for the township and noted a division within the Jackson Republican organization.

Jackson Mayor Michael Reina swears in new Councilwoman Jennifer Kuhn who was joined by her father Jim Kuhn holding the Bible. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  “This has to be one of the fastest meetings I have ever attended,” the mayor joked later in the meeting. “I want to give a very big thank you to my family including my wife Laura who has been through five or six, I’ve lost count, campaigns with me. My family has weathered quite a bit. This one more than any other.”

  He thanked his granddaughter Angelina for holding the Bible during his installation of office. “I am truly humbled by the opportunity to do this once again for you and to sit up here with the Council that I know is going to do great things, as we move forward.

  “Jackson Township needs to move in one step together and we’re going to agree to disagree but we’re going to move forward. Your putting your faith in me once again has just furthered my resolve to make sure that we go there together,” he said.

  The mayor noted the presence of a number of police officers from the township police department in the audience who he commended. “They are here protecting us 24/7.” He also expressed “full confidence in our first responders who like our military are there 24/7. I want to thank our fire and first aid members.”

  Reina said the new year would have its challenges and asked residents who might have questions to come before the council or to his office or that of Business Administrator Terence Wall or Township Clerk Mary Moss to get answers.

Mayor Michael Reina swears in new Councilman Scott Sargent who was joined by his wife Claudia and Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  “Fake news doesn’t count,” the mayor said referencing social media sites that weren’t actual news outlets. “That’s all we ask that we all work together which will be a vital part of 2023. We have some hurdles and I think this council will be able to tackle every single one and I will be here every step of the way,” the mayor added.

  Not everything went smoothly however. A nomination by Councilman Steven Chisholm for Flemming to serve again as council president was seconded by Councilman Nino Borrelli. The council’s new additions of Sargent and Kuhn voted against him, but the motion passed three to two.

  Borrelli nominated Chisholm to serve as council vice president and the vote was the same with Kuhn and Sargent voting against the motion while Flemming, Borrelli and Chisholm voted in the affirmative in a three to two vote.

  Flemming read the council committee assignments list which Kuhn and Sargent voted against approval. That motion was again approved three to two.

  During the Council comment period, Councilman Borrelli congratulated the mayor and the new council members. “It is nice to see your family and friends here supporting you. Their support is essential in your service to our town.”

  “Congratulations to Councilmen Flemming and Chisholm in your leadership roles as well and it is nice to see your families here supporting you as well,” Borrelli added.

  “Let’s keep Jackson in a strong financial position and as a shining gateway to the Jersey shore,” he added.

Councilman Martin Flemming is sworn in for another year as council president by Jackson Township Clerk Mary Moss during the recently held Jackson Council Reorganization meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  Kuhn said, “I look forward to working for the residents of Jackson and serving you as a council member in the next four years. I will always have your interests at heart and that will show through with my dedication, transparency and integrity. I look forward to working with each other and with the administration and mayor.”

  Sargent thanked the mayor and Kuhn for leading “a phenomenal campaign that helped to get me here on the council. I am looking forward to working for all the residents of Jackson, not just one specific group but everyone. I am looking forward to working with council, the entire council. I know in the past it has been difficult but I think we can move forward as a team here in Jackson.”

  Chisholm also congratulated the mayor and new council members. “I look forward to working with all of you this coming term.”

  Flemming welcomed all who came out for the meeting. “We have a lot of special guests and mayors from other towns, county commissioners, congratulations to our incoming council people and the mayor and hopefully we can work together and make it a good year.”

  Along with Commissioner Quinn was fellow Commissioner Bobby Jo Crea, Sheriff Michael Mastronardy, Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill, former Councilman Ken Bressi and Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore.

  Reina told The Jackson Times after the meeting that “it is a very humbling experience to be mayor for so many years. I feel really good. I feel all the back and forths got put to bed tonight and moving forward is where we need to be. I think that is where we are going to go. Every single issue that comes up and needs attention will be addressed promptly.”