JACKSON – Council President Kenneth Bressi was surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren as he took the oath of office administered by Township Clerk Ann Marie Eden, for the second year in a row during the Jan. 2 reorganization meeting.
Bressi said serving in the role was a “humbling experience” and thanked the members of the committee present who supported Councilman Barry Calogero’s nomination for him to remain in the leadership role of the council.
Ann M. Updegrave, who served as vice council president in 2017 nominated Councilman Robert Nixon to succeed her this year. Nixon was sworn in by Eden during the meeting moments after Bressi took the oath of office.
Bressi, Updegrave, Calogero and Nixon each noted the chilly temperature outside reminding residents to be safe and dress accordingly. Councilman Scott Martin was absent during the meeting.
“I am grateful to get this job again,” Bressi said during the meeting. He noted the support he receives from his wife and family.
“We have worked very well together on council in the last few years. The volunteer help we have received helps us keep the town in the right direction,” Bressi added.
“I’ve had a wonderful rapport with Ken and I want to thank the mayor and our administrators and staff for all they do. Ms. Eden is excellent at her job,” Updegrave said.
“I am looking forward to working with you and the mayor and the rest of council this year,” Calogero said.
“I want to thank my colleagues for their trust in me to be nominated. It will be great to work at Ken Bressi’s side again. We have an amazing group of professionals working in this township,” Nixon said. “We have a lot going on for a 56,000-plus population of residents.”
As there was no election for council this year, no new members were sworn in during the meeting. The session included reconfirming new and current professional staff and announced this year’s mayor, council president and council sub-committee assignments.
Mayor Michael Reina noted the complexity of the municipality’s operation and commended township employees such as the police and public works department who have been working in the single digit weather currently being experienced.
“There is a lot to be said for what was heard from the council. There is a lot of work that is being done by our professionals that you don’t see. Ms. Eden is bombarded with (Open Public Record Act) requests and is the speaker of the council. Our administrator (Helene Schlegel) oversees each of our departments in the township. We do what we have to do,” Reina said.
“Decisions are not made for reasons of any special interest groups be they a religion or league or anything else. We do have different opinions at times but in the end we work for you as well as for our employees,” Reina added.
The mayor challenged any critics of the township to become involved in supporting the township by participating in any of its many commissions and subcommittees.
“I invite anyone to come into this office and see the day-to-day operations. There is nothing we can’t accomplish in this town if we can put ahead any special interests,” Reina said. He added that those not happy with things in the township are welcome to come forward and volunteer for any of the township sub-committees.
Eden noted that by tradition, the township council president is replaced by a new person and that a plaque is presented. Bressi nonetheless received a plaque for his work in the role in the past year at the close of the reorganization meeting.