Township Committee Holds Reorganization Meeting

By Frank Sinatra, AAP Editor

In early January, Pennsauken’s Township Committee held its annual reorganization meeting, swearing in its newly-elected officers and selecting the organization’s leadership for the year. This annual rite for Pennsauken’s most important governing body will help chart the town’s directions for 2015.

Mayor, Deputy Mayor Sworn In, Re-elected Officials Take Oath Of Office

“I, Rick Taylor, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to the governments established in the United States and in this state under the authority of the people, that I will faithfully, impartially and justly perform all the duties of the office of the Mayor of the Township of Pennsauken according to the best of my ability, so help me God.”

With these words, Rick Taylor took the oath of office as Pennsauken’s mayor for 2015, during the Township Committee Reorganization Meeting held at the Pennsauken Country Club on Jan. 5. The swearing in of Mayor Taylor, Deputy Mayor John Figueroa, and re-elected committeeman Jack Killion was conducted by Superior Court Judge Louis R. Meloni of Pennsauken. Betsy McBride, who starts her second term as a member of Township Committee, was sworn in by her husband, Superior Court Judge Edward J. McBride, Jr.

In addition to the swearing-in ceremonies, the Committee confirmed numerous appointments to various positions throughout the Township.

Members of the Township Committee took an opportunity to both thank Killion and McBride, who served as last year’s mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, for their leadership during 2014, as well as to congratulate Taylor and Figueroa on their appointments.

“I would be remiss without thanking Jack and Betsy for the fine job they did for us last year,” says Township Committeeman John Kneib. “Also, we wish both John and Rick all the best for the continuation of what has been a very, very fruitful year.” Kneib also spoke about his role of director of public safety, praising the work of Pennsauken’s EMS, fire department and police. “Our EMT services are absolutely phenomenal in Pennsauken; our fire department, under the guidance of Joe Palumbo, has made tremendous strides; and we have absolutely dedicated men and women of all race, colors and creeds that make up our police department.”

During Committeeman Killion’s public remarks, he took the opportunity to reflect on his term as mayor and to thank those who helped make the goals of the Township Committee possible. “The past year was great. A lot of things we’ve put in place over the years as a committee, we’re starting the see some of the fruits of that labor. This has only been made possible by the dedicated and very intelligent people that we have working for us. They’re people behind the scenes that you don’t get to see every day, but they make us all look good.”

Betsy McBride also looked back at her first term as deputy mayor, while also focusing on the many tasks ahead.

“As we start a new year, I will do my best to serve you and all the residents of Pennsauken,” says McBride. “I want to assure you I continue to work to clean and green our town; to attract new residents and make life better for those who are current residents; to look for new ways to support our seniors; to help our youth looking for jobs, and our children looking for ways to grow and learn in Pennsauken.”

Township Committeeman John Figueroa takes the oath of office as deputy mayor of Pennsauken. This is the first time he has held the position.

Township Committeeman John Figueroa takes the oath of office as deputy mayor of Pennsauken. This is the first time he has held the position.

His first term serving as deputy mayor, John Figueroa was humbled by the opportunity to serve his home town in a greater capacity. “It’s an honor for me to be deputy mayor. I’ve lived in Pennsauken all my life. I grew up in Pennsauken, I want to stay here. Together, we can continue to make Pennsauken the great community that it is.”

Figueroa also recognized both Geri Tabako and Bill Orth, past members of Township Committee who were in the audience, for their contributions to the Pennsauken community. “I’m proud to follow in their footsteps.”

Mayor Rick Taylor continued to highlight the accomplishments of 2014: a record tax collection of 97.11 percent; Betsy McBride’s work with the highly successful Harvest Festival; the development of the new Riverfront Village along River Rd.; and the receipt of a five-year, $710,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation for the Delaware Gardens Neighborhood Initiative. But even with all of the positives that occurred in Pennsauken last year, Mayor Taylor stressed the importance of keeping the role of local government in perspective.

“The people at the county help us, the people at the state help us, but I think that politicians always have to remember that they are there to serve the people, not to rule the people.”

“I thank you for the trust you have in me and my colleagues,” added Taylor. “We won’t let you down.”

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