GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Two Republicans were appointed by unanimous votes Wednesday night to serve as the township's mayor and deputy mayor.
Don Purdy was appointed mayor, and Tony Coppola, who was re-elected to a second term Tuesday, was appointed deputy mayor. Brian Tyrrell, who was elected to his first term in office Tuesday was unanimously appointed to fill a vacated council seat.
All of the appointments were triggered by a court ruling last month that former Mayor Keith Hartman was in violation of a state law that deems a council seat vacant after eight consecutive weeks of absences.
Serving as deputy mayor this year, Purdy ran council meetings in Hartman's absence and had the authority to sign township documents. His responsibilities will not change much, but he alluded to an agenda he would like to see accomplished as mayor.
"I'd like to see Galloway have economic incentives for commercial ratables. That's at the top of my personal list," Purdy said.
Coppola was first appointed to council in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Bill Ackerman, who had resigned. Coppola later won an election to retain the seat.
"It's been a well-documented difficult year for us in Galloway Township," Coppola said, adding that he has faith that the current council will be able to work together successfully. "This is my town, too. I want the best for it."
Hartman, who did not win a second term in office Tuesday, briefly suspended his re-election campaign in September, citing threats made against his family. The threats, he said, also prevented him from attending council meetings and thus led to his removal from council. Those events, as well as lawsuits brought against the township, including one by former Township Clerk Lisa Tilton, were the topics of much of the debate through election season.
Wednesday's appointments apply only until the end of the year, which includes just three more council meetings. In January, council will have a reorganization meeting, at which time the positions of mayor and deputy mayor will have to be appointed again.
The appointments do not have an effect on the 2012 reorganization but point to the likely makeup of council for the coming year. Asked about the possibility of remaining mayor beyond the next three meetings, Purdy said he would certainly be interested.
"That's up to the members of council to decide," he said. "Would I like it? Absolutely."
Contact Jennifer Bogdan: