HomeMedford NewsMeet the Candidates: Medford Township Council

Meet the Candidates: Medford Township Council

Planning to vote on Nov. 5? Here’s the rundown on who’s running for the two open seats on the Medford Township Council.

Name: Frank P. Czekay

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Age: 58

Occupation: Attorney and Certified Public Accountant

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Chairman and Vice Chairman, Medford Township Zoning Board of Adjustment (1997-2011); Treasurer, Deerbrook Civic Association and Deerbrook Swim and Tennis Club (2007-2014); Adjunct Faculty Member, Rowan College at Burlington County (2015-present); President, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) 2018-2019; Medford Township Council, (2012-present)

When I was elected to township council in 2012, people asked me why I would want to inherit such a mess. Why would anyone want to take on something that was so bad, that looked impossible to fix and would result in a town full of angry residents pointing fingers? The answer is simple: Medford is my home and I had to take care of it.

I am a 27-year resident of Medford Township. My children attended Medford public schools and the Lenape Regional District high schools. I volunteered to become a member of the Medford Township Zoning Board a few years after moving to Medford in 1992. As a member of township council, we have accomplished much over the last eight years, including:

  1. Restored financial stability to township finances – In 2011, Medford was $75 million in debt and was spending $5 million more on general operating expenses than was generated by taxes. We have balanced our budget every year since 2012 and kept the municipal portion of the tax rate stable for the last seven years.
  2. Reduced total township debt by $20 million while funding new capital improvements of $25 million.
  3. Increased annual budget operating surplus each year for the last seven years.
  4. Restored Medford’s bond rating to Aa2 to keep the cost of borrowing for our capital improvement and infrastructure needs low.
  5. Increased police and public safety positions.
  6. Increased paid fire positions to enhance daytime coverage.
  7. Acquired land and funded construction of a new municipal complex with plans to incorporate the county library.
  8. Began public-private partnerships with local volunteer organizations to provide events to the community with no additional tax cost to residents, i.e., annual fireworks, Halloween parade, Dickens Festival, etc.
  9. Instituted and supported Main Street events such as monthly food truck events and the Medford Art Walk on Main Street.

All of these items have been accomplished with no tax increase to the local portion of the municipal budget for the last seven years.

In seven years, we have taken Medford from debt and crises and restored order and surplus. We did it with your help, volunteerism and patience. I’d like to continue the good work that we have started. I’m asking for your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5 to give us that chance. Please vote for Lauren Kochan and Frank Czekay for Medford Township Council.

Name: Lauren Kochan

Age: 41

Occupation: VP Operations, SEBPO

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Councilwoman, Medford Township Council 2019-Present; Member, Medford Township Planning Board 2019; Member, Medford Township Economic Development Commission 2013-2016; President, Tamarac Lakes HOA 2015-2018; Cranberry Pines Elementary School, Parent Advisory Committee, 2015

Since becoming a member of Medford Township Council, I’ve made it my focus in local government to keep our community safe and affordable, without sacrificing key services and infrastructure. I joined council to support our community, our residents and to further the efforts of the existing council members who have worked hard to restore financial stability to Medford.

During the past eight months, we’ve reopened the restrooms at the parks, continued to improve roads, purchased additional equipment for the fire and EMS departments, awarded contracts for field improvements and furthered infrastructure projects such as the new municipal complex and county library.  We did all of this while being transparent, fiscally responsible and responsive to the needs of Medford residents.

Prior to being appointed to council, I volunteered my time in many ways to support Medford Township, including being a member of the Medford Township Economic Development Commission, the Medford Township Planning Board, and serving as president of the Tamarac Lake HOA. I am also a graduate of the Medford Township Local Government Institute.

I moved to Medford Township in 2011 with my husband and children; we appreciate what Medford offers and feel fortunate to be raising our four kids here. Our children attend Medford public schools and are involved in MYAA programs, where we both volunteer frequently. As part of town council, I hope to support the MYAA organization and other programs offered to Medford youth.

I’d like to continue working for the residents of Medford Township, alongside our current Medford Town Council. Please vote for Lauren Kochan and Frank Czekay for Medford Township Council on Nov. 5.

Name: Keturah Harris

Age: 45

Occupation: Teacher—Special Education

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: American Association of University Women (AAUW) –New Jersey State Public Policy Chair and Vice President of Programming; Alice Paul Institute—Volunteer; South Jersey NOW Alice Paul Chapter—member; NJEA – Legislative Action Team (LAT) member; Medford Democratic Committee, Elected Committee Person representing District 2

Name: Patrick Progar

Age: 59

Occupation: Vice President of Behavior Services, ABA Autism Programs at CNNH NeuroHealth, Voorhees

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Medford Democrats Club, Member; Autism New Jersey, Member; Association for Behavior Analysis International, Member; Medford Strikers, Former President.

Good government requires the participation of all members of the community.

It has been almost two decades since a council member was elected from another party.  We believe it is necessary to create an environment that welcomes residents with different perspectives and opinions; to include Democrats and independents on township advisory committees, fill the vacancies on those committees and expand the activities of those appointees on those committees.

One-party rule is not a good thing. It can lead to withholding information from voters and overusing the legally limited privilege to hold executive sessions behind closed doors.

Many Medford residents are surprised to learn that 43 percent of declared voters are Democrats. The fact is that many undeclared voters (those registered independent) also vote Democratic. We have heard your concerns these recent months, meeting you in your home or at the various events you have attended. We must not allow this significant portion of our town to be shut out of the governing process.

Undeclared voters and unconnected Republican voters are also currently excluded from Medford’s governmental processes.  When we join the Medford Council, we will give all voters access to information currently available to just a few. All voters will finally have access to the details of the spreadsheets behind the budgets and the details of the invoices. We will welcome the expertise of the entire community to committees and loosen the control of the few that have limited the vitality of Medford.  We will force the council to make policy in public view. Yes, it will be more work to share information and welcome diverse input; interested Medford residents should not be kept in the dark.

Sunshine is a powerful disinfectant. Sunshine promotes growth.

It is time to bring back services that held our community together. There will always be a need to defer one expenditure for another. We will bring your voice to council and the town manager about your priorities for how your tax dollars are spent.



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