Editor’s note: As of deadline, the borough commissioners’ vote count was unofficial, but was expected to be certified by date of publication.
In a wide-open field of eight candidates to fill three spots on Haddonfield’s board of commissioners in the May 11 election, one familiar name and two newcomers have apparently shone through.
Unofficial results from borough hall revealed that Colleen Bianco Bezich (2,009), Frank Troy (1,810) and Kevin Roche (1.795) finished with the three highest vote counts, and, pending county certification, are on track to comprise the new triumvirate of borough governance.
As the candidate who garnered the most votes, Bezich will assume the role of mayor. She will become just the second woman in town history to hold the post, following Tish Colombi from 2001 to 2013. Bezich was first elected in November 2019 to finish the remainder of former commissioner John Moscatelli’s term.
“I’m excited to get to work. The whole reason I ran again is because I genuinely love this borough and I love doing the work of local government,” Bezich told the Sun on the day following the election. “I look forward to doing the job for the next four years, and not just for 18 months.”
Haddonfield native Adam Puff ended the night in fourth place, with the support of more than 1,400 citizens. Jeffrey Kasko, who had served as a commissioner for revenue and finance since 2009 and was elected to a four-year term as mayor from 2013 to ‘17, unofficially fell to the fifth spot, with less than 1,000 votes in the provisional count.
“I’ve had the privilege of being elected to three terms on our board of commissioners, and I’m proud of the accomplishments we achieved over those 12 years,” Kasko said in a statement to the Sun on May 13. “While disappointed about the results of this year’s election, I’m looking forward to spending my time and energy on other things and with my family, and having less stress in my life.”
Mark Rusc was slotted sixth, with just over 900 votes. Daniel Zhang, who distinguished himself by suggesting the borough buck tradition and gain additional revenue by permitting sales of liquor and alcohol, unofficially finished seventh. Kathryn Raiczyk, who also made an unsuccessful bid in the fall of 2019 for Moscatelli’s open seat, ended up with fewer than 300 votes.
“This campaign has taught me so much about who I am, what I stand for and what I expect from others. Character matters. The voters of Haddonfield showed that in the results last night,” Roche told the Sun in a statement following the election.
“I look forward to the transition of commissioners next week and am excited to begin working with Mayor-elect Bezich and Commissioner-elect Troy on resolving the issues facing our community.”
The top vote-getter four years ago, Neal Rochford, said in March he would not run for reelection, closing out a career in public service that occupied much of the last 16 years. At the final open public board meeting where he presided, Rochford expressed his gratitude.
“I’m going to miss everybody tremendously,” he noted. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with six different commissioners and I’ve had a blast working with each and every one of them. With borough staff, Sharon (Administrator McCullough) and Deanna (Clerk Bennett) and all the department heads, it’s been a wonderful experience.”
A full breakdown of the vote tally can be found on the borough’s website: http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/latest_news/borough_important_current_topics.php, as well as on the county site: https://www.camdencounty.com/service/voting-and-elections/election-results/.