Don Purdy

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Mayor Don Purdy and Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola will retain their positions in 2012 after unanimous votes at the township's annual reorganization meeting Tuesday.

Purdy and Coppola, both Republicans, have held the positions since Nov. 9. The early appointments were triggered after a court ruled that former Mayor Keith Hartman vacated his seat due to eight weeks of absences.

"We're going to move forward, and we're going to move forward like a freight train," said Purdy, referencing advancements he would like to see in economic development and other areas.

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Since being appointed mayor in November, Purdy, who owns Purdy Collision and DP Towing, has created two new committees, one to focus on commercial ratables and one to focus on grant opportunities for the township. He also is pushing to institute policies regarding cellphone use and personal Internet use during the work day.

Coppola, vice president of Smithville Hospitality, which owns and operates Historic Smithville, said he hopes the township will move away from some of the controversy that has plagued it in the past year.

"The township has been through a lot in this past year. We've overcome a lot. We're focused on the issues and we're fixing the problems," Coppola said.

Within the past year, the township has seen turnover in key positions, including chief financial officer, township manager and clerk, as well as a new mayor. Township officials also are facing two tort claims from former clerk Lisa Tilton.

Councilmen Jim Gorman, a Democrat, and Brian Tyrrell, a Republican, who won seats along with Coppola in the November election, were sworn in at Tuesday's meeting. Tyrrell has filled an open seat on council since Nov. 9.

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