Jim Pearce and Dan MacDonnell were elected to Berlin Borough Council, defeating Cecelia Micki Armano and John M. Mitchard.
Berlin Borough Council will remain all Independent after Jim Pearce and Dan MacDonnell defeated Republicans Cecelia Micki Armano and John M. Mitchard in last Tuesday’s election.
According to the unofficial results from the Camden County Board of Elections, Pearce earned 26.8 percent of the vote, and MacDonnell earned 26.47 percent. Armano earned 23.9 percent, and Mitchard earned 22.69 percent.
Pearce is “happy and humbled” the Berlin community voted him to a third term.
MacDonnell, a lifelong borough resident and chairman of the Planning Board, is very happy to win his first council election and is looking forward to helping the community.
“I’m excited I’m going to get the opportunity to have some influence on Berlin and do the right thing for the people of my town,” he said. “Economic redevelopment is probably the №1 thing on my radar screen. We have a bunch of properties in Berlin that are in dire need of some kind of redevelopment.”
MacDonnell has always been service-oriented. He is an active lieutenant in the Navy who spent 2010 in Afghanistan and a former Eagle Scout. He is also a former member of the Berlin Board of Education and said he had great opportunities working in the school district.
“I was able to work with the other board members to set up agreements with Gibbsboro to share services,” MacDonnell said. “That allowed us to cut costs, keep taxpayers’ budgets down while keeping service up and allowing us to continue good relationships with the Eastern district. Looking at experiences like that, we can come up with innovative ways to keep service levels high but benefit taxpayers in the long run. The next logical step for me was to be a part of the town council.”
Pearce and MacDonnell are part of “Berlin First,” an Independent group Pearce described as a “group that wants to embrace everyone.”
“We tried to form this organization to figure out the issues for Berlin, and these people on both sides of the fence, whether they are strong Republicans or Democrats,” Pearce explained.
Pearce said he’s excited because MacDonnell is younger and has great ideas.
“With Dan, one of the things I admire about him is he really embraced how we set up our political organization,” he said. “He got that we are trying to do good. We knocked on doors with our signs in hand and would say every time, ‘I want you to consider voting for us, and even if you don’t vote for us, I work for everyone in Berlin.’ That’s our mission statement, and we stayed true to it trying to bring Berlin together.”
Armano had no comment on the election results. Mitchard said even though they didn’t come out on the winning side, he thinks they made a difference in the community.
“I didn’t like the direction council was taking,” he said. “We got people to understand what’s really going on this in borough, but we didn’t get to enough people.”
Other election results:
In other election results, Lisa Asare won an unexpired term on the board of education. She ran unopposed. Dennis J. Quinn and Rebecca Holland each won three-year terms.
In the New Jersey First Congressional District of the House of Representatives, incumbent Democrat Donald Norcross easily won re-election. Norcross defeated Republican candidate Bob Patterson, earning 62.98 percent of the vote. Patterson earned 33.87 percent.
Incumbent Democrats Edward McDonnell and Carmen Rodriguez were also re-elected to the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders by a large margin over Republican candidates Robert Stone and Claire Gustafson. Rodriguez earned 32.39 percent of the vote and McDonnell earned 32.24 percent. Stone received 17.95 percent of the vote and Gustafson finished with 17.33 percent of the vote.