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Braden to Serve as Mayor Another Year

Don Kostka appointed deputy mayor during township's reorganization meeting Thursday.

Tim Braden will serve another year as Montville's mayor after the township committee unanimously voted in favor of his selection at Thursday night's reorganization meeting.

Don Kostka, who was sworn in at the meeting by state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, was appointed by unanimous vote to serve as deputy mayor. Kostka won re-election to a second term in November.

In his State of the Township address, Braden said Montville is unique in its form of government in which committee members select one of their own to serve as mayor. Montville government has operated this way since a charter was signed in 1867, he said, and the township is one of only 12 municipalities in the state that governs in such a fashion.

"None of the five of us has any additional authority over the rest," he said, noting that the mayor does perform some added duties, such as leading government meetings and occasionally performing marriages.

Braden said that “majority rule is our standard,” and that all committee members are tasked with working together to make Montville a “unique and better community.”

Braden said that while writing his speech, he realized he could have used the same sentiments that he presented during last year’s address, as many of the words that came to mind were the same. Like last year, Montville was faced with a major storm this year and like last year, Braden said, township officials and volunteers rose to the occasion.

“These were events that most of us have never seen before and hopefully will never see again,” the mayor said he remarked in 2012.

Braden once again acknowledged the hard work of borough employees in the days that followed Superstorm Sandy and asked the audience to commend them as well.

“Please join me in recognizing these heroes of 2012,” he said.

Kostka, who was invited to provide comments following Braden’s, kept his remarks short.

"Thank you for your votes, thank you for your support and that’s it," he said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, several retiring police officers and employees were honored for their years of service.

Outgoing borough professionals were recognized for their work in the township and new borough officials were appointed. Alissa Danielle Hascup was appointed to a one-year term as municipal prosecutor and John Cesaro was appointed to a one-year term as municipal public defender.

Martin Murphy was reappointed as the township attorney. The firm of Lerch, Vinci and Higgins was appointed as township auditors and McManimon & Scotland, LLC was appointed as the township’s bond counsel.

One by one, the township committee members called out names of volunteers who were appointed to various boards and commissions. Braden said he was appreciative that so many Montville residents were interested in serving.

“These are the 185 people who assist us in doing our job up here and I’d like to thank each and every one of them,” Braden said.

Thursday’s reorganization meeting was opened with a prayer by The Rev. Charles Bigelow, of the Montville Reformed Church, and closed by a prayer from Reverend Mark Olenowski of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church.

Dan Grant January 07, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Many of the towns in our area have a direct election of Mayor, Lincoln Park, East Hanover, Boonton, Denville, Dover, Morristown, Parsippany, others operate in the Township Committee Form with an appointed mayor from the Governing Body. What that form does allow in my view is an ability to hide that an elected Mayor would not have. Under Montville Township's current form the Administrator runs the day to day affairs of the Township. Administrators are at will employees and of course need the support of at least 3 of the 5 member Committee but they also represent a layer of protection for Elected Officials which a Mayor chosen by the people at large would not have. What I have seen over the years is a kind of annual swap meet revolving around this position as well as the fact that in a one party Town anyone not of that party has no chance to be mayor, hence no competition which would benefit the people.
George Schaefer January 07, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Dan Are you implying that the Mayor in Montville somehow doesn't respond to the wishes of the public? As he is an elected official, if that were true he would be voted out when he ran for reelection. FYI, the discussion between elected vs. professional leadership has been going on since the Progressive Era one hundred years ago. There will never be a "right" or "wrong" answer. The progressive "good government" movement first gave us civil service reforms in the late 1880's and then professional city/town mangers in the 1920's. The first school of Public Administration was the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1924 (full disclosure, I have my Masters in Public Administration from Maxwell and currently serve on it's Board). Many more followed and today there are over 100 public administration programs in the US preparing men and women to serve as professional managers of towns, cities and counties. The key benefit to having professional mangers is they are trained and have the experience to execute the budget, personnel and tax aspects of government in a manner which no mayor would as they are typically lawyers, career politicians or from other walks of life which do not prepare them for this service.
Dan Grant January 08, 2013 at 02:15 PM
LOL, YOu remeind me of the Professor in the Rodney Dangerfield movie, "Back to School", You have all the text book answers and none of the knowledge of what really happens in the back room when the Mayor is selected. When I tell you it becomes a swap meet between 5 people, having been in that room, I speak from years of practical experience. It is about what each one wants, who is at odds with who, who gets to name what appointment and who has the desire to be Mayor. It is rarely about who the best choice would really be and it could wind up being damaging to the Town. It becomes about who gets what out of it. Having an elected mayor does not in anyway preclude having a professional Administrator. Montville hired their first administrator in the seventies but as I say they are political at will employees and follow the dictates of the Governing body or they don't keep their jobs.
George Schaefer January 08, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Dan Trust me I am not naive, I know how politics works and that back room deals are made all the time to obtain results, it is what makes the public so cynical of politicans and their promises. Particularly of former elected officals who are bitter that the public rejected their perspective but still campaign on. But I am also hopeful enough to believe that there are professionals who can rise above this morass, make sense of the political process somehow and provide the publc with responsive and effective government.
Dan Grant January 08, 2013 at 04:40 PM
I assume you are talking about me with the bitterness comment. Why would you inject that into a discussion of the value of an elected Mayor vs an appointed Mayor? I have engaged in the political process for over 40 years and had successes and disappointments but my interest in politics remains, particularly in regard to my Township. I hold no bitterness and commenting on the things I feel are not being done properly in the face of complete one party domination is what I believe should be done. You can't put your name on the ballot without an awareness that people may not agree with you. Just as an aside I served, for the most part, with 4 Republicans on a 5 member Committee. They were so divided one year that two of them even offered to make me the Mayor. Even though on a personal level I would have been the first Democratic Mayor since 1962, I turned down the honor. I didn't believe it was in the best interest of the Township to sit in the middle of 4 Republicans who were mad at each other. I didn't see that as productive for the Township.

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