New Washington Township Mayor Joann Gattinelli aims for transparency, availability in first year as elected official
Newly elected Mayor Joann Gattinelli plans to create transparency between Washington Township’s government and its residents, allowing open communication and availability within the municipality.
As a resident of more than 30 years, Gattinelli ran for mayor as just that, a resident. She is a graduate of Washington Township High School, she met and married her husband in town, and raised two children who have also attended the public school district. Gattinelli stays in Washington Township for family.
“I have a vested interest in the town itself, and I felt this is my time to put my hat in the race and move forward with it,” Gattinelli said on her decision to run for mayor.
Gattinelli enjoys one coffee a day, in the morning, and outdoor walks to clear her head. She hopes to learn how to play golf when she has free time for herself. Some may know her from the local pizza shop she and her husband used to own, Gattinelli Pizza & Pasta, where her favorite was a white pizza with tomato and spinach. In her downtime, you can find her at a baseball game or at the gym.
Gattinelli plans to incorporate her past business ownership experience to her position as mayor to smoothly run the town.
“I want to be a little bit more hands on and involved in daily activity, such as what’s going on within the municipality itself, having briefings and more meetings, as well as have more awareness of everyone’s position and what’s expected,” Gattinelli said.
She believes with good communication, and everyone knowing their position, the administration will be able to achieve expectations and goals.
Beginning her campaign, Gattinelli went door to door to listen to concerns residents had for the township, finding the empty storefronts, taxes, the clean up of Black Horse Pike and park activities were some of the most common interests. Another major point expressed was availability of the town’s government and administration, which Gattinelli hopes to address as one of her first acts as mayor.
“We’re looking at a government that’s transparent. I want to have the residents aware of what we’re working on for beautification of Washington Township, to keep residents in Washington Township and to have them spend their money in Washington Township,” Gattinelli said. “I am a big proponent of small business, because I was one at one time. I feel the need to buy locally, shop locally and support locally.”
The views of the township shared by residents were what drove Gattinelli to continue her run for office.
“Winning the primary was big for me because I knew that, at the end of the day, I needed to move forward and continue doing what I was doing, listening to the folks of Washington Township and getting as far as I possibly could,” Gattinelli said. “I take this with great pride to stand up as mayor of Washington Township and do whatever I can with the administration that we have surrounded ourselves with moving forward, to try to achieve and accomplish certain things throughout the town.”
A website is being set up that will be used as a tool of communication between the mayor’s office, the municipality and residents. Although the site may not launch until the second quarter of the year, Gattinelli is working on setting up a schedule for residents to meet with her, have coffee, and address questions and concerns.
“I am working for the residents, and this is what I want to do. I listened to every request and statement when I was out there walking door to door for the general election, and I’ve taken a lot into consideration. I’m just asking for patience within the first quarter so that we can get ourselves set up and we can be that team that will take us to the finish,” Gattinelli said.
For the first time in years, Washington Township has a bipartisan council involving Democrats and Republicans.
“You need to have ideas come across the table, and you can’t just approve everything. There is going to be some push back on certain items, but that’s what makes the world go around. Everyone has to have an opinion, but at that point, if you’re going to deny something, you’re going to have to back that up,” Gattinelli said.
Gattinelli believes she and the council members are in a good position to work together, have open minds, think outside the box and achieve the goals that will be in the best interest of the town.
“We all stepped up to the positions we’re in right now to be able to do that, and we need to be able to work together,” Gattinelli said.