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Cranford Names New Mayor, Township Attorney

The Township announced its appointments for the new year on Wednesday afternoon.

Credit: Bernie Wagenblast
Credit: Bernie Wagenblast

The Township Committee nominated commissioner Andis Kalnins as the Township's Chairman for the 2014 year. Kalnins will now serve as Mayor, but since the Township has a committee-style government, his additional responsibilities mainly include chairing meetings while sharing the other responsibilities with all commissioners.

"I'd like to thank the commissioners for their confidence in me and letting me lead the committee this year," he said. "We have many challenges ahead of us and we need to continue to balance the services we need and want with the cost to provide them."

Kalnins explained that the Township will better focus on flood control, as well as create a five-year maintenance program and a longer term debt management system.

He went on to say that on Jan. 16 a public DEP hearing will be held on Birchwood in the Cranford Committee Chambers.

Cranford's Bernie Wagenblast held a radio interview with Kalnins, which can be found, here.

Commissioner Lisa Adubato was sworn in as the Township's Deputy Mayor.

Also on Wednesday, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick swore in Mary O'Connor and Robert D'Ambola as the committee's newest commissioners for the next three years.

It was discussed on Monday that the township was considering hiring Phil Morin of  Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader LLC as the Township Attorney, but the committee voted unanimously on Wednesday for Diane Debulas, Esq. of Rogut McCarthy as the Township Attorney for a one-year term.

Debulas sometimes sat in on committee meetings as she filled in for the 2013 attorney, Daniel McCarthy, since they are both of the same firm.

The committee also voted that Lavona Patterson would serve as the Township's Chief Financial Officer for a four-year term.

Mayor Kalnins  thanked both Kevin Campbell and Ed O'Malley for their service on the committee.

During his years of service, Campbell served as Deputy Mayor, Commissioner of Pubic Safety and Commissioner of Engineering.

"We look for his continued support with the Birchwood lawsuits," Kalnins said.

He also thanked O'Malley for serving as Commissioner of Finance, Public Affairs and Engineering and Deputy Mayor and being an advocate for environmental issues and being green.

Commissioner Thomas Hannen thanked the public and committee for the opportunity to serve them as Mayor.

"It has been my pleasure to serve the residents of Cranford for the past year as Mayor," Hannen said.

Both D'Ambola and O'Connor explained what they are looking forward to when serving the Township.

"It's this kind of community spirit that makes Cranford such a special place," D'Ambola said as he joked about such a large turnout on the first holiday of the year.

He added that he looks forward to living up to his oath while serving on the committee.

O'Connor also thanked her family for teaching her the importance of public service and supporting her in her desire to serve the Township of Cranford.

Deputy Mayor Adubato said that this year instead of looking for flaws in Cranford, they should begin looking for potential and opportunity.

Approved resolutions from Wednesday's meeting can be found, here.
Donald January 02, 2014 at 05:21 PM
The Township has just appointed Diane Dabulas, a partner at Rogut McCarthy, as Township Attorney. However, Rogut McCarthy was also just retained by consent resolution as Bond Counsel AND General Litigation Counsel. Several observations: (1.) Why are we sticking with one of the same local law firms that has not achieved success in our ongoing development matters in town? and (2.) Can we expect an unbiased and independent assessment of our prior failed strategy in such matters, as well as unbiased and independent management of these (and other) matters going forward, when the Township Attorney's own law firm -- in which she has a pecuniary interest -- has been retained as General Litigation Counsel (along with Morin's firm, again)? I really don't think Cranford's Township Committee is doing all it can do to turn around its poor track record regarding, inter alia, our builder's remedy suits, including the underlying issues that brought the town and its citizens to this point. We obviously need a fresh look at the conduct of these litigations, and new, top-notch counsel to perform it, not the same "connected" firms that brought us to where we are now.

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