Hopatcong's Petillo, Young, Klein Sworn In
Reorganization meeting draws standing-room only crowd.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo and council members John Young and Estelle Klein were sworn into new terms at Wednesday night's Hopatcong reorganization meeting at the municipal building.
Councilman Richard Bunce was named council president and Petillo, in her second straight term, announced the members of the borough's new land-use board, which will replace the zoning and planning boards.
Petillo, a Republican who ran unopposed in November alongside GOP mates Young and Klein, sat before a standing-room only crowd and recounted the what she said were her first-term successes, such as amassing $4 million in federal grants, including one for $143,000 that will give four municipal buildings energy-efficient lights and other equipment.
"I'm very honored to have the privilege, and I do consider it a privilege, to serve my community," said Petillo, who also spent three years on Hopatcong's council before becoming mayor in 2008. "And we have so many new projects that we're looking at."
Klein, who took over for the council's lone Democrat, Madeline McManus, is no stranger to the council. She served from 2003 to 2008 before stepping down to take care ailing former councilman Bob Modick, who died in 2009. Klein lived with Modick.
Klein said she was excited to be back.
"If you have any problems in the town," she said to the crowd of about 60, "come and see me."
Petillo said Klein will energize the council.
"She's the type who really works with residents," Petillo said. "She's very motivated. She's very dedicated."
Young, serving his second consecutive term, said he was thankful for the opportunity to serve.
"For all of those who put their faith and trust in me, my promise is that I will always do what I think is right and best for Hopatcong," Young said.
Bunce served as the council's president in 2004, he said. He said if he must exercise his role and fill in for the mayor, he hoped that he'd still "leave the major decisions to the executive branch of the mayor." Bunce, in his ninth year on the council, said a president hasn't had to assume the mayor's position for any period of time since McManus took over when former mayor Richard Hodson suffered a stroke in the middle part of the last decade.
As for the land-use board, Petillo said it's comprised of the members of the former planning board and a few zoning board members. She said deciding which zoning board members, who had to reapply for land-use board positions, would make the final cut was difficult.
"I looked for experience," Petillo said. "I looked for different backgrounds so that you have a board with all difference areas and experience. But it was very difficult because they were all excellent."
The land-use board, which will meet once a month, will meet for the first time at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the municipal building. A referendum asking residents to combine the planning and zoning boards passed, 1,579-491, in November.