CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Timothy Donohue returned to the mayor’s seat just after Theron “Ike” Gandy took the oath of office as the newest member of Township Committee on Wednesday in an overflowing meeting room at Township Hall.
Gandy’s election in November tipped the balance back to the GOP on the three-member committee. Michael Clark, now the lone Democrat on the governing body, joined to make unanimous the vote naming Donohue mayor.
But Clark did not join a vote to terminate the contract of township Business Administrator Elizabeth Terenik a year and a half into a three-year contract. Longtime Township Clerk Kimberly Krauss was subsequently named the new business administrator. Krauss will continue to serve as clerk.
In comments later in the meeting, Donohue praised former Committeeman Jeff DeVico, the Democrat incumbent Gandy unseated in November, speaking of his long record of public service and dedication. He also praised Terenik, thanking her for her work for the township.
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Donohue said the decision to change administrators was not an easy one.
He expressed confidence in Krauss’ ability, saying no one understands the workings of the community better, while announcing further changes to the administration, including having the administrator work from the first floor of Township Hall, where he said she will be more accessible to the public.
According to Donohue, the cost of the raise for Krauss for the additional duties and of the severance package for Terenik will not exceed what the township had expected to spend in 2019, adding he predicted considerable savings in 2020.
In a more extensive prepared statement, which Donohue did not read at the meeting, he described the change as the most important decision of the first days and weeks of his administration, and a change in the day-to-day direction and leadership of the town.
In the statement, he said he had wanted Krauss to be considered for the administrator’s job in 2016, when previous Administrator Connie Mahon left for a job in Wildwood Crest, after Clark and DeVico declined to consider extending her contract.
Both Donohue and Clark said they have worked well together over the past six years and expect to continue to work for Middle Township going forward.
“We care about this town, and we promise the three of us together to continue to do good work,” Donohue said.
Superior Court Judge Michael J. Donohue administered the oath of office to both Gandy and to the mayor, his brother. Also at the meeting was another brother, Ed Donohue, the former police chief of Lower Township. He retired in 2011.
Tim Donohue’s wife, Carole, and their daughter Juliana were also at the event, while Gandy was joined by his wife, Maren, and their son Ty.
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This is not Donohue’s first term as mayor. He served two years as mayor before Clark was named to the position three years ago. Also returning to a seat at the front of the meeting room was former Township Attorney Marcus Karavan, hired to replace Frank Corrado as municipal solicitor under a contract not to exceed $175,000.
Taking his seat at the dais, Gandy thanked his family and his supporters after what he described as an arduous campaign. Among several others, he thanked Tim Donohue and former Township Committeeman Dan Lockwood.
“Although I’m starting my political career, I don’t consider myself a politician. I’m a working-class guy who just wants to do better for myself and my town and my family,” Gandy said. “We’re going to do the best we can for the taxpayers here in Middle Township.”