New council moves full steam ahead on business matters

Issues include microbreweries and township manager position.

Moorestown Township Council consists almost entirely of new members, and with Mayor Nicole Gillespie the only returning representative, newcomers aren’t showing a learning curve.

It’s been full steam ahead on all of the township’s business-related matters. 

At its most recent meeting, council discussed the township’s path forward on a multitude of fronts, including retail and personnel. 

Councilman David Zipin, who serves as liaison to the planning board, said that body is moving forward with reviewing ordinances that would allow for microbreweries in town. The board is also eyeing an amendment to  township codes that will allow the sale of packaged alcohol at those breweries.

Planning Board Secretary Nancy Jamanow sent a memo to council with some of the board’s thoughts on the ordinances. Zipin said once council has an opportunity to review those memo items, he hopes microbreweries and the sales of packaged goods will be up for discussion at council’s next meeting. 

Also in line with the township’s business talk, Gillespie provided an update on council’s search for a new township manager. At the Jan. 25 meeting, Thomas Merchel announced he will step down from that role. He has served in dual roles as both Moorestown’s chief financial officer and township manager for the past year, and as of April 30, he will act solely as chief financial officer. 

Gillespie explained that officials are just beginning the search for Merchel’s replacement and have formed a three person subcommittee consisting of the mayor, Deputy Mayor Sue Mammarella and Merchel. The three met in closed session on Monday night to discuss recruiting a search firm for help making their choice. Gillespie said she and Mammarella spoke with a few potential firms earlier in the week.

During the township’s last search for a township manager, a search firm was not used, resulting in fewer strong applications. Gillespie explained that the township manager position is extremely complex, and council may not possess the expertise to ask good questions of applicants. So officials are recruiting help.

Gillespie assured those in virtual attendance at the meeting that council will inform the public once a firm is chosen .

“We’ll keep you informed on that,” she said. 

The mayor said as council gets further along in the search process, all members will be involved in the search. But interviews for prospective candidates will be done in closed session to protect applicant privacy.  

The next meeting of Moorestown township council will take place on Monday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.