HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — The election of two Republican candidates to the Township Committee in November increased the GOP majority on the governing body from 3-2 to 4-1. But it was members of the majority party who clashed Monday during the annual Township Committee reorganization meeting.
Following the swearing-in of new members Charles Cain and Carl Pitale by Atlantic County Freeholder Chairwoman Amy Gatto, two-term Committeeman John Kurtz said he expected to be selected to serve as mayor this year by his fellow committeemen.
“However, I was told at a meeting held on Dec. 18 with party leaders that I would not get that opportunity because I had lost the confidence of members of the Planning and Zoning boards,” Kurtz said. “Despite that, due to his family being present, I will vote yes to select Art Schenker as mayor even though the decision was predetermined.”
Atlantic County Freeholder Amy Gatto, a Republican from Hamilton Township, has requested she…
“My family isn’t here, and thank God for that,” Schenker said.
Schenker then was selected unanimously to serve his third year as mayor.
The vote for deputy mayor was even more heated. Kurtz nominated Pitale, who quickly declined.
Cain was then voted into that post. Committeeman Rodney Guishard abstained, while Kurtz voted no. Kurtz expressed concern about Cain overseeing the Police Department after a dispute with the department following a drunken-driving arrest that occurred during Cain’s term on the governing body nearly a decade ago.
“My family has supported the Police Department for generations,” Cain said. “I am in full support of our new police chief, Greg Ciambrone, and proud of a department that has received many accreditations. I am insulted by the comments directed at me.”
Schenker offered conciliatory comments.
“Sometimes in this position one can get a little too passionate,” he said. “But I know that we can all work together in the best interests of our residents. We have a lot to look forward to.”
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Numerous professional and board members were appointed at the meeting. Among them, Robert Sandman was retained as township solicitor with Randolph Lafferty retained as alternate solicitor. Steve Filippone of Engineering Design Associates was kept on as township engineer with Kevin Dixon retained as alternate township engineer as well as traffic engineer.
Carl Tripician was selected as municipal court prosecutor, and Frank Lentz will retain his post as public defender. Leon Costello of Ford Scott and Associates remains township auditor.