December is here already and as we conclude 2012, I offer my final “Message from the Mayor”. As you may know, Springfield voters go to the polls every year to elect members to the Township Committee. The Township Committee selects a Mayor for a one year term. Every year, the governing body “re-organizes” and a new Mayor and Township Committee goes to work.
It was an honor and privilege to serve you as Mayor and I thank the residents for that opportunity. I also want to thank two members of the Township Committee, Deputy Mayor Jerry Fernandez and Committeeman Marc Krauss, who finish their three-year terms at the end of the year. These remarkable gentlemen have shown exceptional leadership, dedication and commitment to Springfield. They have worked with fervor and passion for every resident and business and advocated for the best interest of Springfield helping to move our community forward.
We wish them well and thank their families for allowing them to give so much of their time to Springfield.
I also want to thank everyone who has volunteered on the numerous Township committees/boards and in an appointed capacity. Finally, I want to thank all the Department heads and employees for their positive attitude, hard work and devotion to the team spirit.
I’d like to recognize two individuals who always work behind the scenes but played a very critical role recently during the state of emergency brought on by “Sandy” – Emergency Management Coordinator Scott Seidel and Deputy Coordinator Wally Schultz. Their leadership and handling of the disaster was nothing short of extraordinary and their service is greatly appreciated.
For much of this year, we have tried to address the neglected property at 646 South Springfield Avenue that was destroyed in a fire last year. Many attempts to collaboratively remedy the property were fruitless but we have finally obtained a court order to order demolition of the property – a necessary approval to minimize this blemish on a major thoroughfare in Springfield.
I am pleased to announce that we applied for and received a Disaster National Emergency Grant award in the amount of $140,319 to hire nine temporary workers to assist with necessary clean-up resulting from “Sandy."
In November, voters went to the polls and had an opportunity to consider a question on the formation of a Charter Study Commission. The question passed and the all-volunteer group consists of James Bonacorda, Geri Ann Bujnowski, Mark Cunningham, Denise Devone and Hugh Keffer. This Commission will begin meeting, holding hearings, soliciting public input and report its findings within 9 months. The Commission is the mechanism for ensuring the future of Springfield is successful through the recommendation of the best form of government. The Commission does not take up the issue of salaries or full-time vs. part-time positions but rather, considers what change is necessary, if any, to our form of government to allow for partisan or non-partisan elections, at-large or ward elections, and a directly-elected or appointed Mayor. I urge residents to follow the activities of the Commission in 2013 and to participate and offer input so that the report of the Commission accurately reflects the sentiment of the community.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year!