TOMS RIVER – Departing councilmen were honored during their last Township Council meeting.
In the 2017 election, the four Ward Council seats were on the ballot. They were held by Maria Maruca, Kevin Geoghegan, Jeffrey Carr, and Alfonso Manforti. Carr chose not to run for re-election, and Louis Gallipoli II ran in his place. Three Democrats won seats to the all-Republican board by a narrow margin. Maruca was the only one to hold on to her seat.
The parting council members were given a plaque for their service and a print of a rendering of Town Hall from a local artist.
Carr was absent from the meeting, as were Councilman Brian Kubiel and Mayor Thomas Kelaher.
The seated council members thanked them for their dedication. “Even though their terms are ending, their service to the community will continue,” Maruca said.
Councilman Maurice Hill said they “always did what was in the best interest of the township.”
Geoghegan, who had been a councilman since 2016, said “It’s been an honor to serve up here. Sometimes the right thing is not always popular and the popular thing is not always right.” He noted that it’s easier for critics to throw stones but it’s different when they’re on the dais catching them.
Manforti said it’s been a fun journey for his four years. He thanked his family for their support. The township has changed since he moved to town in 1960. The best that the governing body can work toward is “controlled, responsible growth.”
“I can say with conviction that I love every one of the council members,” he said emotionally. “We were a family. We didn’t always agree, but it was because we had different ideas of what was best for the town.”
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Freeholder Virginia Haines, a Toms River resident and National Committeewoman for the Republican Party representing New Jersey, commended the three outgoing Republican council members for running an “honest campaign,” a possible slight to the Democrat challengers. “You’re going to be sorely missed.”