It is approximately 50 days until the special election in Haddonfield to fill the vacant commissioner seat.
As I wait for most of the candidates to launch campaigns, I’m left to think about the qualities that would make a strong addition to the board.
The commission style of government has serious flaws, but the three-person panel does give the residents an opportunity to elect someone who can add to the discussion, round out the combined skill set of the leadership, and bring a perspective that would be missing otherwise.
When I review the list of candidates for Commissioner, only one presents the kind of fresh perspective proven to be essential for the success of a complex organization, Colleen Bianco Bezich.
Mayor Rochford and Commissioner Kasko represent the continuity of vision and thought that has led Haddonfield to this point. Colleen represents a much needed addition to the board.
But being different isn’t enough of a reason to earn anyone’s vote.
Colleen is also the most qualified candidate. She is the only one with a 15-year reviewable track record of sound municipal management, degrees in public administration and law, and a deep knowledge of the daily operation of New Jersey towns gained while working with more than 20 municipalities as a consultant and project manager.
She’s highly qualified. She brings an essential perspective. She has also demonstrated a commitment to Haddonfield by serving on the Zoning Board and the Celebration Committee, as a member of the Lions Club, and by choosing Haddonfield for her home and business.
There are no easy answers to the complex issues that the Borough has to face in the months ahead—land use, affordable housing, economic redevelopment, a stronger working relationship with Camden County, a clearer vision of where Haddonfield is heading, and others.
What is an easy answer for me: I do not think a candidate hand picked by the sitting Commissioners represents the best choice for the future of Haddonfield. Aside from that, I look forward to learning more about the other candidates. So far, I just see more of the same.
For these reasons, and many more, I will be voting for Colleen Bianco Bezich on Nov. 5.