LACEY – Reflecting on some of the dark times and challenges of 2020, township officials said they were looking forward to a much better new year.
The Township Committee reorganization meeting included some of its history with elected officials saying that the new year would mark the 150th birthday of Lacey and that many events had already been planned to celebrate that milestone event.
Township Business Administrator/Clerk Veronica Laureigh noted that this year marked her own 30th anniversary in service to Lacey.
The first order of business was the swearing in of Nicholas Juliano for his third term in office on committee. He was surrounded by his wife, children and other family members as he was sworn in by Jack Ciattarelli, a former Assemblyman and Republican candidate for governor in this year’s race.
Ciattarelli had been making the rounds of various reorganization meetings early in the month. He also attended the first Ocean County Commissioner’s meeting. He swore in Councilman Thomas Russo as deputy mayor at the Howell Township reorganization meeting.
In the audience was Gary Quinn, who previously served on the Lacey Township Committee for many years and who currently serves on the newly renamed Board of Ocean County Commissioners. Quinn was named as the first director of that board which was previously known as the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
The Committee moved to appoint/reappoint its professionals and committee member liaison assignments to each of its departments early on in the meeting.
Committeeman Peter Curatolo was nominated and unanimously chosen among his fellow committeemen to serve as Mayor of the committee this year. Juliano was then nominated and approved unanimously to serve as deputy mayor in 2021.
Berkeley Township Councilman John Bacchione spoke during the public comment period congratulating Juliano on his re-election in the general election of November 2020 and Curatolo on being chosen to serve as mayor this year.
“I want to thank all the members of this committee for being such good neighbors and allies of Berkeley Township and I wish you much success in this coming year,” Bacchione said.
Committeeman Steven Kennis said he would not miss being in the mayor’s chair this year and noted the challenges of serving in that role during 2020 when the pandemic conditions came about last March. “A year ago, things were really different for all of us.”
The new deputy mayor said “Steven I know it was a tough year for you. Thank you for all you did. I feel we will have a great year in 2021. I think things will change around. I think things will be different in 2021 in a lot of different ways. The small businesses are really suffering. Please support our small businesses because they really need the help.”
Juliano thanked his family for supporting him in his committee work over the years and also thanked the workers of the township. “They make Lacey Township look as good as it does. The Department of Public Works makes us look good in every way, the police department for making us safe. We have the best police department and every organization we have in this town is the best in Ocean County and I’d say in the state of New Jersey.”
“Every town should have their own state senator,” Committeeman Mark Dykoff said, joking, in reference to 9th District Republican Sen. Christopher J. Connors who will remain in his role as the township’s attorney.
“I remember 12 months ago we were looking forward to a really great year. We thought things were really going to roll and you know what I think it will be a great year again,” Dykoff said.
Dykoff added, “I’d like to think we made it through the worst. Businesses have suffered and as I look at Lacey Township, we are a small, big town. We have a big persona and all you have to do is drive north, south, east or west to see some of the great businesses we have. Restaurants, shopping, gyms you name it we have it going on. Let’s move forward.”
Committeeman Timothy McDonald welcomed Ciattarelli who he recalled playing golf with in 2019 and also thanked Councilman Bacchione for attending the reorganization meeting. “You are right John we have a great relationship with Berkeley Township and we want to keep it that way.”
Curatolo said, “we look forward to 2021 and our 150th anniversary. As your mayor I am humbled and grateful to stand and advocate for you. There is no virus, no disaster man-made or natural that can defeat us.”
“Thank you for placing your trust in this governing body and we have no intention of letting you down. We will never stop advocating for our businesses, our seniors and our schools for they are the fabric of our township. With everything last year had to throw at us we are still here,” the mayor added.
The mayor concluded saying, “together we are going to keep Lacey safe and healthy and together we will make sure Lacey remains a choice destination for families in Ocean County.”