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Matthew Moench Named Council President

Re-elected council members sworn in, as Bridgewater officials take stock of last year's accomplishments.

Incoming Township Council President Matthew Moench says the township's staff and volunteers make the council's job easier. Credit: John Patten
Incoming Township Council President Matthew Moench says the township's staff and volunteers make the council's job easier. Credit: John Patten
After re-elected council members Alan Kurdyla, Howard Norgalis and Felipe Pedroso were sworn in at Monday's Bridgewater Township Council reorganization meeting, the members' first act was to name a council president.

And 2013 President Christine Rose waited barely a heartbeat before nominating Matthew Moench for the post. He was quickly elected to lead the council in 2014, his second year as president.

Moench noted that the speech he'd given when first named council president four years ago featured lots of high-minded quotes from leaders—but he chose a different tack for his speech Monday.

"I still think it was a great speech, but for my second term, I'd like to really take the time to say thank you to people," he said.

He thanked his family, including his father, Fred, a longtime rescue squad volunteer, and his fellow council members.

"The greatest part about working with this group of individuals is everyone respects each everybody," he said. "We're all working towards what we believe to be in the best interests of Bridgewater."

He thanked Rose for her management of the council for the last year, and noted she had handled any heated discussions with "level-headedness and reasonableness." 

Moench also praised Kurdyla's knowledge of Bridgewater's open space efforts, and said Norgalis—the "dean of the council"—was the "undisputed guru when it comes to the budget." He noted Pedroso's experience on the Planning Board before joining the council gives him a perspective on development issues.

Moench closed up with recognitions of several township employees, who he said may tire of his requests for information and assistance. He noted Mayor Daniel Hayes and Township Administrator James Naples have been helpful for the council and provide 

"We don't always make their lives easy, we have lots of requests for information," Moench said. "But they a good job and work very hard for the residents of Bridgewater."

The meeting also included Rose's summary of accomplishments by the council during the last year, which included:
  • Reaching an agreement for shared municipal court services with Somerville;
  • Reaching an agreement with Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District officials for a second special resource officer at BRRHS;
  • Concluded negotiations to transfer emergency dispatch services to Somerset County;
  • and Appointed a new chief of police, Manny Caravela.

"Thanks to the my peers on the council as I worked through my first experience in this role—it's not always easy being the 'newbie,'" she said. 
 
Rose also created Township Clerk Linda Doyle and her staff with "keeping us all in step."

"Without their efforts, there is no question that chaos would be the order of the day," Rose said.

Mayor Daniel Hayes also addressed the crowd, giving his state of the township speech (see story). 




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