GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The township reorganized Wednesday night, re-naming Tony Coppola deputy mayor and formally swearing in Fire Chief Tim McKenna.

In a short speech, Mayor Don Purdy said 2013 would be a good year for the township. Especially compared to the old year, he said, “We can certainly achieve and do better.”

He said the township’s finances are on solid footing. A budget agreement has essentially been agreed upon, and without citing specifics, Purdy said, “This is the first time I can think of when Galloway Township has not had a phony budget.”

“We’re going to sit up here and run the township the way it should be run,” Purdy said.

Also Wednesday, the township named Vince Polistina, a former Republican assemblyman who operates Egg Harbor Township’s Polistina and Associates engineering firm, its engineer in a 4-3 vote. He replaces Tom Dixon, who runs Dixon Associates and had been the township’s engineer since Republicans took control of the governing body in 2004.

Councilman Tom Bassford later sharply criticized the choice, pointing out that Dixon had built his business across the street from the township building. “Personally, I think he was done wrong tonight,” Bassford said. “He has done nothing wrong to warrant not being reappointed.”

Council also approved paying more than $211,000 to 14 former employees for unused sick and vacation time because of retirements and layoffs. State employees have been capped at $15,000 for unused sick and vacation time since 1986, but recent efforts to extend similar laws to local workers have been unsuccessful.

According to the resolution unanimously approved by the council, five employees stand to receive more than $15,000, including:

* Thomas Davey, Police: $59,220;

* Paul Dooner, Police: $42,279

* Troy Midgette, Police: $33,276

* Michael Goldberg, Public Works: $21,871;

*Eleanor Brattan, Public Works: $21,075.

Council also tabled a related resolution that would pay the terminal leave of two of the people who have formerly served as township administrator in recent years, Steve Bonanni and Jill Gougher.

Contact Derek Harper:

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