Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
When the town council meeting on Monday, December 19, adjourned, it marked the end of my two-year return to town council. It was a special evening as the council honored two exceptional individuals: Ed Marinelli, for his service to the town as a past mayor and planning board chairman and Cassie Iacovelli, for her dedication to the town as MainStreet Director. To my surprise, Tom Gribbin then stood and had kind words for myself as well. It was very heartwarming and appreciated.
However, I need to express my feelings about my latest tenure on council. It started back on Thanksgiving Day 2019 when my nephew, Steve Furgione, thought it would be a great idea to put a ticket together with Sam Rodio. I assure you I have always wanted to return to council for at least one more term, but I would never run against Steve or Sam. The only way to make it work would be to run together. Fortunately, we were all able to have a seat in the town hall located at Central and Vine.
These past two years have been very rewarding. I enjoyed working with my fellow council members and, although we didn’t always agree, we continually put the Town first. I had the pleasure of being appointed to three committees.
Working with Tom and the mayor on the Administration Committee was rewarding. The county pushed hard for us to join them with a centralized court in Mays Landing and give up our hometown control. We were not going to allow that to happen and with the assistance of our solicitor Mike Malinsky, we continue to have our own county court in Hammonton, with Mullica, Egg Harbor, Folsom and Buena joining us.
Our court administrator Crystal Czerwinski did an outstanding job managing the court during the past two years especially with some difficult times through COVID-19. The construction office with A.J. Berenato, Mark Rogers and our newest hire, Frank Sacco, continued with inspections and permits. They kept us up to date on some issues around the town and I have confidence that they will continue working to enhance the inspection process and keeping the community in check.
On the Law and Order Committee with Sam and the mayor, we had a priority for public safety. Under the leadership of Chief Friel, I believe we have the best department in South Jersey. They are an outstanding group of men and women. I had the pleasure to interview many of them. Whether for a new hire or for promotions, the chief always sent us his best.
In Business and Industry, I would attend the chamber of commerce meetings with John Runfolo and Ben Ott along with many chamber members. They worked hard to promote the town with their events, most notably the Red, White and Blueberry Festival that brings thousands of people to our community. The Hammonton Revitalization Corporation with Rich Rehmann and the many volunteers on their board along with outgoing MainStreet Hammonton Executive Director Cassie Iacovelli, our Town is thriving. They have a goal in supporting our businesses and are doing an excellent job. Their events, including the Annual Food Truck Festival, Cruisin’ MainStreet, Downton Trick or Treat and the Christmas Tree Lighting, plus many others, brings our community together and promotes the town of Hammonton.
I would also like to thank Frank Zuber, who was always there to answer all of my questions, Denise Mazzeo who does everything else, Bobby Vettese and Mark Hermann of ARH.
Special thanks to my wife, Melanie and my daughter, Caitlin along with my extended family Bernadette and Sam Rodio Jr., for surprising me at my last meeting and their endless support.
I am sorry that I let down my running mates this go around. I was very disappointed and even hurt in losing this past November. It is now time to take my own advice when I always say that everything happens for a reason.
Whether we are an elected official, a volunteer or a town employee, we are all devoted to this town. I certainly know how I feel and it has been a pleasure working for all of you.
It takes a village to make a community.