Mantua reorganization meeting is a session for incumbents

Outgoing Senate President Sweeney offers emotional parting words

Committeeman Shawn K. Layton is sworn in by outgoing Senate President Steve Sweeney at the Jan. 3 annual reorganization meeting.

Mantua Township held its annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 3, with in person attendees wearing masks and the public watching online due to both the COVID surge and a snowstorm.

The first order of business was Robert Zimmerman and Shawn Layton being sworn into their roles as committeemen. Zimmerman and Layton won a tight reelection race in November, when only 100 votes separated them from defeat.

The committeemen were sworn in by outgoing Senate President Steve Sweeney, with Zimmerman online and Layton in person. ZImmerman reflected on a “very long” campaign.

“The hard work proved to pay dividends in the end and we were successful,” he said. “It was a tight race, but with a lot of hard work and a lot of teamwork and support from our party, we were able to pull off a victory.”

Layton followed up with gratitude for the election result.

“I appreciate everyone’s help for this election,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next three years, to keep pushing and to make Mantua one of the best towns in Gloucester County.”

Pete Scirrotto was approved as mayor after a sole nomination at the meeting, and Zimmerman was then sworn in as deputy mayor.

Scirrotto focused his statement on honoring Sweeney, a Democrat who lost his powerful state senate seat to Republican Edward Durr. Scirrotto went on to list Sweeney’s accomplishments while in office, including improving senior facilities, creating safer walking paths for student commutes to schools and getting necessary funding for the local high schools and universities to thrive.

“His hands were on so many things, and people don’t realize it, and I just want to thank him personally and the township thanks him,” Scirrotto said while presenting a parting gift to an emotional Sweeney.

“You guys are like family,” Sweeney said while holding back tears. “I lost an election, I didn’t lose my life. I’m going to move on and be stronger. I’m going to be better.”

Sweeney acknowledged that Mantua Township holds a special place for him.

“This community is one that is very near and dear to me,” he explained. “The leadership and the job that you guys do, and the way you service your community… it wasn’t always that way. When I first met [Mayor Scirrotto] he showed the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever met, and he cares more about people and does such an outstanding job.”