Story: Ben Wolverton
CHESTERFIELD, NJ -
It was a night of firsts at the Township Meeting Wednesday night. The reorganization meeting of the Chesterfield Township Committee brought a Democratic majority as well as a female majority, for the first time in the township's history.
The night was not without controversy, with Committeewoman Andrea Katz opposing the appointment of Rita Romeu as Mayor, saying it was the result of a deal between members of the Committee. Liedtka denied this, and said, "Last year, when I was Mayor, Rita Romeu was sworn in, and from that day forward she hit the ground running." Liedtka explained how he had Romeu take on the Township's budget, something he called the "most important task of the township... She deserves to be the Mayor." The vote was 4-1.
Romeu said after her Oath of Office as Mayor, "We are bipartisan. We have been for the past year. In my opinion, we've worked very well together, and got quite a bit accomplished."
"It seems that deals have been made and they're being spun as bipartisanship," Katz said following the Mayoral vote. "But making a deal isn't true bipartisanship. True bipartisanship is working together in the light of day to make the lives of the residents of your community better."
John Gillespie remained the Township's Solicitor this week in a 3-1 vote with 1 abstention. Katz opposed his contract renewal citing the same reasons she opposed Romeu and Liedtka's local appointments, suggesting a deal had been made.
"Sometimes you have to take a hard vote in government," Katz told WBNC News after the meeting. "It's what happens the next day. So, we all roll up our sleeves and get back to work."
This is not the first time Katz has opposed Gillespie as Township Solicitor. Her first act as Committeewoman on January 2nd, 2017 was to vote against Gillespie's renewed contract, which passed 4-1.
Denise Koetas-Dale, elected in November of 2017, joined the Committee this week, becoming the 4th woman in the Township's history to sit on the 5 person governing body. Koetas-Dale was elected to Richard LoCascio's seat, who did not seek another term this past year. "Im thrilled and excited to be on the Township Committee," Koetas-Dale told WBNC News following her first meeting. "We had a little bit of controversy at the first meeting, but I look forward to a really good group, working together for the betterment of Chesterfield."
After 4 years as Mayor, Jeremy Liedtka took the Oath of Office for Deputy Mayor Wednesday night. As Mayor, Liedtka saw the groundbreaking of the Municipal Building and the ribbon-cutting as the opened the new building.
Members of the Public
As Rita Romeu took the Oath of Office for Mayor, holding the Bible was former People Over Pipelines President Agnes Marsala, who was involved in a serious car accident back in July. Marsala originally ran for a seat on the Township Committee teaming up with Denise Koetas-Dale, but was forced to drop out following her accident. During the public comment portion, Marsala said "I really am so happy to see all these women up there. [to Liedtka and Davis] Nothing against you guys, but it just warms my heart. And I just want to say 'Let's show them that we can do the job'... you'll be seeing more of me."
Martha Veselka, a Bordentown resident and former member of Chesterfield Environmental Commission, spoke to air and water tests, so local residents could have a comparison to quality before and after the compressor station on 528 starts to run. Romeu announced that Chesterfield Township is teaming up with Eugene Fuzy, Bordentown's Deputy Mayor on tests.
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