JACKSON – A new year began for the governing body and town staff but some of the issues of 2023 were still seen during the reorganization meeting.
Reorganizations are held at the beginning of every year. It’s a time to appoint new professionals and volunteers, and take time to reflect.
The meeting featured a strong presence from several political dignitaries who came out to the meeting including Ocean County Commissioner Virginia Haines, Commissioner-elect Frank Sadeghi, Sheriff Michael Mastronardy and County Republican Chairman George Gilmore. Also present were state representatives, 30th Legislative District Senator Owen Henry and Assemblymen Alex Sauickie, (a former Jackson Councilman) and Robert Clifton.
Mayor Michael Reina thanked the officials for coming and showing their support to the township and said he was looking forward to a positive and productive new year.
As there were no new council members to swear in this year, the first order of business was to select a council president and council vice president for the all-GOP panel. The council president runs the meetings and sets the agenda. The nomination came up for Councilwoman Jennifer Kuhn, who joined the council last year.
Councilman Nino Borrelli voted against Kuhn’s nomination while Councilmen Mordechai Burnstein, Steve Chisholm and Scott Sargent voted for her.
She introduced Justin, a young member of her family “and future Republican” who held the Bible as she took the oath of office as council president administered by Mayor Michael Reina.
Sargent was then nominated to serve as vice council president by Burnstein and seconded by Kuhn. The vote repeated the same with Borrelli voting no and the other members voting yes.
Reina administered the oath of office to Sargent.
“I am honored to be here, although there is a lot of work to be done. I look forward for all of us to work together along with the administration and Mayor Reina. We all need to protect this great town and move it forward,” the new council president said during the public comment period.
Kuhn noted the council’s appointments to citizen boards stating, “our open space, economic development and public safety are prime examples of how we will bring more residents of Jackson together to help better connect the work of council and our community. I am committed as council president to have each of these committees meet regularly and to engage with as many residents as possible.”
Sargent remarked, “I want to thank Michael Reina for swearing me in this evening. His leadership has been unmatched and I want to thank Jennifer Kuhn and Mordechai Burnstein for working so hard to try and get Jackson where they want it to be and where I’d like to see it go as well.”
Borrelli said, “it is nice to see our residents and our elected county officials here tonight. I want to thank you for being here and coming to Jackson. To the residents of Jackson, I am honored and thankful to be serving as your councilman and appreciative of serving as council vice president last year and I will continue to do what is in the best interests of all Jackson residents.”
He also thanked Chisholm and the members of the Rova Park Advisory Committee for their work and the time they devoted to reserve the historic property and “providing the vision for making Rova Farm Park happen.”
Burnstein congratulated Kuhn on becoming council president and Sargent as vice council president “and of course Mayor Reina. I am honored to work with you. Jackson is in great hands. Councilwoman Kuhn is one of the most hardest working people I’ve met since I became working in government for the last several months and along with Council Vice President Sargent and serving on various boards, I know we will continue to see great things in Jackson. We have a lot planned for the future of Jackson.”
“We very much appreciate all the residents who applied for various boards. I was very impressed by the knowledge and vision that everyone shared and I look forward to our utilizing all that talent going forward. Jackson is the gateway to the entire county and I want to thank everyone for coming and showing your support. The room here is full of energy and excitement,” the councilman added.
Chisholm said, “we might as well start the new year on the right foot as some of you may have heard the news today King Phillip (NJ Governor Phil Murphy) has a conundrum. There were busloads of people dropped off who don’t belong in our country. They are being dropped off in New Jersey and shifted to New York. Bad polices on the federal and state level trickle down and they will affect Jackson.”
Chisholm was referring to immigrants seeking asylum who were transported from the border to resettle to various areas of the country but with little to no preparation for their living conditions or orientation into the United States.
He also congratulated Kuhn and Sargent in their new leadership roles on council and noted it was “an honor serving as council president last year and serving all of you. God bless you all and god bless America.”