After a search that lasted more than a month, Haddonfield has its interim commissioner for public works in Robert Marshall. Marshall was revealed to the public at a special board of commissioners meeting on July 2, and was administered the oath of office following its conclusion.
Marshall takes over for John Moscatelli, who was first elected to the post in 2013, and who sent his letter of resignation – effective June 30 – to Mayor Neal Rochford just prior to the board’s previous meeting on June 25.
Marshall, a resident of Haddonfield since 1986, was named the borough’s Citizen of the Year in 2007. He was selected from a list of 24 candidates interviewed by Rochford and Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko.
“We have agreed on Bob Marshall, who brings a wealth of experience in government and community volunteering. We had so many strong candidates to choose from, so this was not an easy decision. I am confident that Bob’s background, skills, and expertise will serve him and the residents of Haddonfield well as a commissioner,” Rochford stated in a release announcing the appointment.
Marshall has worked for the last three decades for the state in a variety of capacities. He has served under four governors in the Office of Counsel to the Governor, provided special assistance in various capacities to the state Department of Environmental Protection, including special advisor to the commissioner of energy and the environment, assistant commissioner for Sustainability and Green Energy, as well as special assistant for Natural Resources Policy and Planning.
Over his three-plus decades of residency in the borough, Marshall has taken part in multiple civic and club organizations. He previously served on the board of governors of the Civic Association, held the title of president of the board of trustees for the Haddonfield Public Library, and also spent time as president of the Historical Society of Haddonfield.
“Bob Marshall is known by many residents in Haddonfield. Bob has outstanding leadership, organizational, and analytical abilities, and he works collaboratively with others, which is important on a three-member governing body. He’s been involved with government at the state and federal level, so he knows his way around. And finally, he’s someone who’s very analytical. He wants to get all the facts and information, and make informed decisions,” added Kasko.
Marshall steps into the role at a time when Haddonfield is still reeling from the effects of a round of vicious mid-June storms, whose floodwaters caused widespread damage to land and property.
“There’s a lot to get up to speed on. I worked for the state department of environmental protection as an assistant commissioner when Superstorm Sandy hit … I was advised that 65 percent of the state was without electricity. The fifth-largest sewer treatment plant in the country was offline, and by the end of the storm, it discharged over 5 billion gallons of raw sewage into the roadways … that was the type of catastrophe I dealt with. I have a great deal of sympathy for those at the local level. I’ll roll up my sleeves and do what I can to help,” Marshall said, when asked what he can do to gain the public’s faith and trust in short order.
Marshall will hold the post until a special election is held in November. The candidate who receives the most votes will then assume the role for the remainder of Moscatelli’s term, which is set to expire in May 2021.
Petitions for those interested in running for the job are available in borough clerk Deanna Bennett’s office in Borough Hall, and must be returned no later than Sept. 3. According to Bennett, candidates must be Haddonfield residents and a registered voter of legal voting age, who must collect in the range of 94 to 100 signatures to be included on the ballot.