Barnegat Township Reorganizes for 2013
Committee set to work together to 'do what is best for the township.'
Barnegat Township swore in two new committee people and a new mayor today, but the man taking the mayoral office has already had to issue a public apology to many residents for comments he made during a meeting in mid-December.
Len Morano - who was sworn in as mayor at 1 p.m. today - last week publically apologized to many residents of the Mirage development for comments he made at the Dec. 17 Township Committee meeting.
The comments made by Morano - where he referred to "golden gates" and the Mirage in one statement- were made following withdrawl of a resolution by Mayor Al Cirulli that would have authorized the lease of property at 979 West Bay Avenue to Quality Medical Transport.
Barnegat First Aid Squad Captain Rob Leccione appeared at the Dec. 17 meeting - before Cirulli withdrew the motion - and said that the volunteer squad is looking to expand, including instituting new programs, and cannot do so with the space the squad currently has in the center of town. The volunteers also noted that their current location makes reaching calls on the other side of the Parkway difficult due to routine traffic snarls along West Bay Ave.
The building that Quality - which is the township's paid emergency service - is in now was originally built for the volunteer squad, but has been used by Quality since 2006.
Cirulli said he introduced the motion because he wanted to bring the First Aid Squad's lack of space "to light," and because he was concerned Quality would be pushed out by the volunteer squad, leaving Quality without an alternate place to dock their ambulances in the township.
Morano became angered by Cirulli's introduction of the resolution - claiming Cirulli was trying to push something through before he left office - and then Cirulli withdrew the motion, saying he would leave it up to Morano, and the new Committee to decide when the lease comes up for renewal next June.
During discussion following Cirulli's decision to remove the resolution, Morano made the golden gates comment. In the comment, Morano claimed it was Mirage residents who fought having a seperate first aid station over on the western side of the Parkway.
In reaction to Morano's comments, several residents of the Mirage appeared at a meeting last week about shared services to express their anger at the comment.
Arthur Sheiken, who is the Vice President of the Mirage Homeowner's Association said that Morano could not fairly represent the entire town when his comments reflected a "narrow" view of the Mirage community.
After several people addressed Morano - and the debate got so heated at one point one resident - Phil Checchia - was asked to leave the township hall by several on the committee - Morano said: "I'm man enough to stand here and apologize. I only do what's right for this township."
After the meeting, Sheiken told Patch he was satisfied with Morano's apology and looked forward to working with Morano, the older committee members, and the two newest committee members - Elaine Taylor and Susan Conway - in the future.
Taylor told Patch she is anxious to get started, and both she and Conway met with Township Administrator David Breeden last week to discuss a number of issues, including possibly moving to an increased number of recyclable pickups.
Asked if Taylor had any hesitation about Morano taking over as Mayor, following the debate with Mirage, Taylor said: "Lenny, Susan and I will be working with the rest of the committee to do what is best for the township."
Check Patch later for a photo gallery of the reorganization meeting.