Mayor provides update on Moscatelli replacement process

At the latest board of commissioners meeting, Mayor Neal Rochford provided an update on the process of appointing a borough resident to replace outgoing Commissioner John Moscatelli. 

“We have been receiving applications for the interim position of commissioner. We have 24 individuals from Haddonfield who have stepped forward, which does not surprise me because we have so many talented people in the borough and people who care about our town, and I think it says a lot about the caliber of our town that we have so many who wish to step up. They are going to have big shoes to fill because John has done an awesome job while he was here with his portfolio,” Rochford stated.

Rochford said the applications had been filed by the May 24 due date and are currently being catalogued ahead of Rochford and fellow Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko undertaking the task of interviewing all 24 candidates. 

“Slowly, we’ll start to whittle them down and get to a point where we will get down to a couple different folks, and then we’ll make a decision. We hope to have everything done and a new commissioner announced by the end of June,” Rochford added. “I was very impressed with the resumes that I’ve looked at so far, I still have a lot more to look through. They’re all very capable and qualified people. It’s going to be a tough decision.” 

Once that process has concluded, Moscatelli will formally resign his position and the new appointee will be sworn in. 

Moscatelli, who serves as the commissioner for public works, had been elected in 2013 along with Rochford and Kasko, and subsequently re-elected in May 2017. Two years remain on his current term. 

Whomever Rochford and Kasko select will fill the role on an interim basis until a special election on Nov. 5 will determine who takes office to complete the remainder of Moscatelli’s current term. 

Per a release from the borough, upon Moscatelli’s announcement, petitions will be available to all interested candidates in the borough clerk’s office starting June 10. All petitions must be returned to the borough clerk no later than Sept. 3. According to several people in borough governance, any potential candidate must be a registered voter, of legal age and a resident of the borough, who must collect a minimum in the range of of 94 to 100 signatures to qualify for placement on the ballot. 

The candidate who receives the most votes will assume Moscatelli’s role immediately upon certification of election results, and will serve through the regularly-scheduled commissioners election in May 2021. 

Regarding the pending approval of a 2019 budget, commissioners unanimously approved, upon second reading, an ordinance relating to the preservation of a cap bank. 

State law prohibits any municipality from increasing its budget an amount greater than 2.5 percent from one year to the next. For Haddonfield, passage of this ordinance allows for a 1 percent increase, in the amount of $117,862.88, to be applied “in the interest of promoting the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.” 

“It’s required if we want to preserve what we call the cap bank for appropriations. The budget appropriations are usually set at a maximum of 2.5 percent, but unless we do this ordinance, which allows it to go up to 3.5 percent, which amounts to $412,000 and change for municipal expenditures,” Kasko explained. 

“It doesn’t mean we do that ordinarily, or that we necessarily will go up to that amount this year, but by practice we do this ordinance each year to preserve that right to have that cap bank be more flexible for our budget.” 

In other news

  • Commissioners issued a pair of proclamations: one declaring Saturday, June 1 as “Skirmish in Haddonfield Day,” for the annual “Skirmish” which reenacts British and Continental troops tangling in 1777, and another declaring Friday, June 7 as “National Gun Violence Awareness Day,” where borough residents will be encouraged to wear orange as a mode of awareness and symbol of those who have perished due to gun violence in America.
  • Reconstruction of the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Chestnut Street received an extra financial boost of $16,675, thanks to commissioners passing a resolution to authorize a change in the contract with Asphalt Paving Systems, Inc. Total allowances for the project now total just under $1.9 million.