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'Accessible' Government Promise of Green Brook Officials

Patrick Boccio appointed township mayor, Jerry Searfoss named deputy mayor.

Patrick Boccio, appointed mayor at the Township Committee’s annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, vowed to make municipal government more “accessible” to residents.

Boccio, who was sworn into another three-year term on the Committee with fellow incumbent Ken Herrmann also said in his inaugural address that he will take measures to make himself and other elected officials more available to residents.

“The people of Green Brook are our valuable advisors,” Boccio said, adding that he will be open-minded and accessible.

For example, he said, Committee members on a rotating schedule will be available one or two hours before meetings to discuss issues with residents. Six of those sessions will focus on each of the township’s six voting districts, he said.

Hermann echoed the mayor’s sentiment. “The most important thing is listening,” he said. “That’s our job up here—to listen.”

Township Committee meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of the month, except January, February and September. The next meeting will be Jan. 22.

The mayor also proposed opening up the annual budgeting process to residents. That would give residents an opportunity to understand the process, ask questions and make suggestions, he said.

Among the goals for 2013, Boccio said, is the completion of the township’s strategic plan. “We’re close to bringing it to the finish line,” he said.

Boccio said another priority is the development of economic growth in the Route 22 corridor near Washington Avenue. He said Committee Member Nancy Stoll has already been working with businesses in the area and he hoped for assistance from the Somerset County Business Partnership.

The mayor praised township volunteers, particularly their efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. “You are the cornerstone of our town,” he said.

“The more people that get involved,” Boccio said, “the stronger Green Brook will be.”

The mayor said he was “proud to call Green Brook my home” and said it was the obligation of elected officials “to leave Green Brook a better place than when we found it.”

Jerry Searfoss, who was appointed deputy mayor, also praised the efforts of volunteers and township employees after the storm.

“We did better than most towns,” he said. “It’s amazing how we learned from Irene (in 2011) and put it into practice this year.”

Searfoss said the efforts of residents after the storm should serve as an example to politicians in Washington of how people can come together to take action.

“We do get things done around here,” he said.

“We don’t get bogged down over-analyzing the problem,” Searfoss continued. “We just do what is best for Green Brook.”

The other Township Committee members also thanked the volunteers and employees.

“We are very blessed here in Green Brook,” Stoll said.

“We came together during Sandy,” Committee Member Ed Pfeifer said. “This town was amazing.”

In other reorganization meeting business, the Township Committee re-appointed William Willard to serve as township attorney. Richard Guss will serve as municipal prosecutor and James Loewen will serve as municipal public defender.

The following officers of the Green Brook Fire-EMS Department were approved:

Fire officers: Rick Connelly, fire chief; Dave Breen, assistant fire chief; Steve Timko, captain; John Richards, lieutenant and Bob Smiegocki, lieutenant.

EMS officers: Darlene Breen, EMS chief; Jason Flint, assistant EMS chief; Nancy Howard, first lieutenant; Jennifer Reedman, lieutenant and Stephanie Howard, lieutenant.

Company: Dave Breen, president; Matt Halicki, vice president; Stan Schneider, treasurer, Christina Mathews, recording secretary and Darlene Breen, corresponding secretary.

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