STAFFORD – The township has a new mayor. The Council unanimously approved the appointment of Robert Henkin as mayor during their last meeting.
The vacancy arose when former Mayor Greg Myhre stepped down upon winning a seat in the state assembly and taking office in early January.
Henken, who moved to Stafford in 1998, brings six years of council experience to the table. He ran alongside Myhre on the same ticket, securing his council seat in 2019.
Henken emphasized in an interview with The Southern Ocean Times, his commitment to collaboration, citing the importance of working together and ensuring everyone feels involved in the decision-making process. He plans to revive the “Mayor’s Corner” forum, fostering open communication with department heads and residents.
The new mayor also stressed the importance of focusing on employee morale and ensuring that all township workers feel valued and appreciated.
Stepping into the mayor’s seat, Henken said he planned to keep in line with the direction established by Myhre during his term. He intends to focus on remaining as fiscally responsible as possible and his goal is to facilitate the creation of programs for residents to enjoy. Henke emphasized that safety would also stand as a foremost priority as far as first responders.
“I look forward to getting to work and doing some great things with this great council we have, and the residents of Stafford,” Henken said after he was sworn in to office.
The new mayor’s first official act was presenting a proclamation honoring his predecessor’s dedication to the township. The proclamation highlighted Myhre’s numerous accomplishments, including securing over $17 million in grant funding for crucial projects and fostering economic development.
The proclamation also underscored Myhre’s commitment to infrastructure improvements, and the establishment of essential facilities like the Ocean County Library’s Stafford branch.
Ocean County Republican Chair George Gilmore shared the township’s process of officials voting on moving someone new into the mayoral role once Myhre was sworn into the state assembly.
“The Ocean County Republican Committee has 15 days from the date he was sworn in to submit three names to the governing body,” explained Gilmore. “The governing body from the date of the vacancy has 30 days, with both time periods starting the same day.”
Gilmore confirmed that the three names submitted to the governing body by the Ocean County Republican Committee (in alphabetical order) included former Stafford Mayor Carl Block and Council members Robert Henken and Amy Otte.
With Henkin’s elevation, the council now seeks a qualified individual to fill his vacated seat. The process mirrors the one recently concluded for the interim mayor position. Interested residents can submit letters of intent to the Ocean County Republican Committee within the same 15-day timeframe (starting from the date of Henkin’s swearing-in (which was January 31).
The committee will then evaluate the applications and forward the top three contenders to the council. From there, council members will deliberate and ultimately choose the best candidate to join their ranks.
Henkin’s tenure as mayor is set to continue until the conclusion of the calendar year. As his term nears its end, voters will soon have the chance to elect a new mayor and council member to fulfill the remaining terms.
Confirming his commitment to the role, Henkin expressed his intent to vie for the mayoral nomination on the November ballot.
Professionally, Henkin brings extensive experience as an admissions representative for WyoTech, a vocational school specializing in automotive and diesel technology. He shared his dedication in connecting with students and promoting alternative career pathways to those not interested in four years of college.
Henkin’s personal life reflects his commitment to family and community. Celebrating nearly three decades of marriage to his wife Nicole, Henkin is a proud father to four children, each pursuing their own passions and careers across the country.
The new mayor boasts a long history of involvement with youth sports within the community. He served as a board member for Southern Pop Warner Football, holding various leadership positions like Media Supervisor, Sgt. of Arms, and Vice President.
Additionally, he dedicated his time as a coach for several youth teams, including Southern Pop Warner Football, Stafford Roller Hockey, Southern Rec Ice Hockey, and as an assistant coach for Stafford Basketball.
His commitment extended to the parent community as well, serving as Treasurer for the Southern Regional Boys Lacrosse Parents Association