Berlin Borough Council hosted its reorganization meeting Jan. 3 at borough hall, swearing in a new mayor as a change in leadership commences within the borough. Four council members were sworn in after the mayor, with two of them having won last November’s election and two being appointed by council.
In uncontested November elections, Rick Miller received 97.5 percent of the vote for mayor of the borough, while Jim Pearce and Andy Simone were elected to their previous seats, receiving 49.35 and 49.03 percent of the vote, respectively.
After swearing in election winners, council appointed two additional residents to council. Two seats were left open for council to fill within 30 days of being vacated. One was left open after Miller was sworn in as mayor and another after the resignation of former Councilman Ron Rocco.
In an interview with The Sun, Rocco said he resigned because he is moving out of the borough. He confirmed that decision verbally with the muncipal clerk at the conclusion of council’s Dec. 12 meeting.
At the reorganization meeting, Jacob Miller was appointed to Rick Miller’s former seat, which is set to expire at the end of this year. If he were to run for the same seat in November, it would be for the full three-year term.
Meanwhile, council also appointed Patricia Cummings for the seat left open after Rocco’s resignation. Cummings will hold the seat for the calendar year, filling the unexpired term. The November election will fill the remainder of the seat’s term, which would then have one year remaining.
After all council members were sworn in, Pearce was unanimously voted to serve as council president for the 2020 calendar year.
As for council appointments, Rick Miller will be in charge of economic development; Pearce will oversee public safety; Len Badolato is in charge of buildings, parks and recreation; Simone leads public works, streets and roads; Cummings is in charge of water and sewer; Keith Hohing is in charge of finance; and Jake Miller takes charge of communications.
During remarks from the governing body, Rick Miller thanked the voters for electing him mayor of his hometown. Moving forward, he said he looks forward to working closely with council on making Berlin Borough a good place to live, work and raise a family.
“I may be the only one up here with the title mayor, but I continue to view myself as one of seven of the governing body,” Miller noted. “I’m nothing without your trust and support in me. Your success is my success.
‘I look forward to working together as a governing body, and not as a Mayor and council.”
Miller recognizes that council’s biggest responsibility is to protect its residents, which it does in a variety of ways. One of the most recent ways is by joining Voorhees Township to create a Berlin Saves Lives program that offers residents rides home from borough establishments that have a liquor license.
According to Miller, various locations have already joined the program, funded through donations and not taxpayer dollars.
Moving forward, Miller said he and council will work hard to show make Berlin Borough a strong community.
“We’re going to show you in the upcoming months and years with actual results,” Miller said. “We’re going to work tirelessly to get in front of as many stakeholders as possible.
“We will tell Berlin’s story to as many people as possible in an effort to get them to invest in our community.”