Moorestown Council Makes History, Swears in first Hispanic mayor

Elected to Council in 2014, Manny Delgado, was sworn in as mayor at the Tuesday, Jan. 3 Town Council meeting.

Manny Delgado was sworn in as mayor of Moorestown, while alongside his family, at the Town Council reorganization meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Moorestown Town Council has made history twice in the past five years, naming Councilwoman Stacey Jordan as its first female mayor in 2013, and Councilwoman Victoria Napolitano as the youngest mayor in New Jersey history in 2015. This year, history was once again made, as council swore in its first Hispanic mayor, Manny Delgado.

“Is [being the first Hispanic mayor in Moorestown] a big deal? Yes. However, me and my family were never raised to think that we were any different because we were of Latino background,” Delgado said at council’s reorganization meeting last week.

He explained that instead, he was taught he just needed to do what he could to succeed in life. Delgado graduated from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, and graduated from Temple University with his undergraduate degree in Spanish linguistics and Spanish and medieval text.

“This just goes to show that someone from a low-income setting in urban Philadelphia can end up moving out to Moorestown and eventually become mayor,” the native of 16th and Fairmount streets in the neighboring city said.

With council now in 4-to-1 Republican control, Delgado foresees continued growth and progress throughout the community under his leadership. He recalled that since joining council two years ago, he has seen the community work to maintain the lowest municipal tax rate and highest bond rate in the county, protect 810 acres of open space, improve the Shop Local initiative, complete the town parking lot across from Town Hall, facilitate the rebirth of the Moorestown Mall, lay the groundwork for improvements along Camden Avenue and begin the largest infrastructure project Moorestown has seen in decades. Council has also continuously worked with residents to find solutions to various issues and concerns, while remaining focused on doing what is right for the town, he said.

Headed into the New Year, Delgado said he and council plan to continue strengthening these initiatives. He also looks forward to again serving the town he and his wife, Amy, chose to live in and have come to love.

In closing, Delgado shared a Bible verse from Colossians 3:23 that he had also shared in June at the Moorestown Republican Club Stars and Stripes brunch. The verse states that “In whatever you do, do it heartedly, ask to the Lord and not to men.”

“To me that means in whatever you do, whether work or other activities, do it with a genuine attitude,” Delgado said. “Whatever you do, strive to be efficient and of good character in your work. In everything, be diligent and work to excel in all those efforts and to do what is right.”

In other news:

• Councilwoman Lisa Petriello voted “no” for professional appointments that did not go out for competitive bid this year. She explained the New Jersey League of Municipalities has best practice guidelines that recommend if townships do not go out to bid each year, that it does so every third year.

According to Petriello, the last time the township went out for bid was 2013, so this would have been the third year. She also expressed she could not vote to reappoint law firm Capehart Scatchard because she had expressed reservations in the past she has had with the conduct of the township solicitor, Anthony Drollas Jr., during town council meetings.

“I couldn’t see continuing to handle further contracts with him or his firm,” Petriello said.

• Jordan was elected as the town’s deputy mayor for 2017, filling the role for the second time. Napolitano, who was re-elected in November, was sworn in for her second term at last week’s meeting, as was new Councilman Mike Locatell.